George Washington Middle School aligns its philosophies with the AMLE (Association for Middle Level Education). Our weekly morning professional development focuses on creating a positive environment for learning and best practices in teaching and learning in the content areas. Our teachers collaborate with one another using protocols to develop better more effective lessons and unit plans, formative and summative assessments, for example. This “(t)eacher collaboration creates a culture of high student expectations, promotes sharing of best practices, and cultivates a sense of belonging.” (AMLE) Additionally, our students and staff are organized in houses to provide a smaller environment for our students in transition from elementary school to high school. Our teachers collaborate regularly with house teammates to set and maintain high expectations and a safe and orderly environment. We employ Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS) and Green Dot Education as our framework for a safe and orderly environment. As stated in the AMLE, we believe in …
Three factors stand out from the research that guide implementation of this component of effective schools.
- Faculty and staff must truly believe that raising the bar will increase student achievement. The teachers in the classroom must be willing to increase the rigor of instruction and the administrators must be willing to support these efforts. Just saying you have high expectations for students is not enough; faculty and staff members must put their beliefs into action.
- Faculty and staff must communicate their high expectations to the students on a daily basis. Teachers do this by raising the bar for all students in the classroom and then doing whatever it takes to help the students succeed. Raising the bar without additional support is setting students up for failure. Administrators support the “culture of high expectations” by providing staff development, resources, and support for the efforts of the teachers.
- Faculty and staff must have high expectations for themselves as well. This means faculty and staff members must increase the rigor of their instruction, be willing to learn and try new instructional strategies, and be available to provide additional support for students to ensure their success
A Safe and Orderly Climate
It is important to create an environment where all stakeholders feel secure. A safe and orderly school has a positive impact on student achievement.
- An effective school safety program focuses on prevention, intervention, and emergency response. School leaders can take several steps to create this type of learning environment.
- Make sure students have a clear understanding of the behavioral expectations on the campus. Students also should be taught proper behavior. This is a responsibility of all faculty members.Establish personal relationships with students. Personal relationships are especially important on campuses with large numbers of economically disadvantaged students.
- Have regular emergency drills and be able to respond quickly to reports of unsafe conditions or emergency incidents. All staff members should feel confident in their ability to deal with multiple forms of emergencies. Students should also be instructed in proper response to multiple forms of emergencies.
- Establish a school-wide program to deal with bullying, violence, and harassment. An effective program is proactive and emphasizes prevention. A safe procedure for reporting incidents should be in place.” – AMLE (Association for Middle Level Education
Our Friday morning professional development focuses on creating a positive environment for learning and best practices in teaching and learning in the content areas. Our teachers collaborate using protocols to develop better more effective lessons and unit plans, formative and summative assessments. this “(t)eacher collaboration creates a culture of high student expectations, promotes sharing of best practices, and cultivates a sense of belonging.” (AMLE)
DCSD and GEORGE WASHINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL BELIEF STATEMENTS
The mission of the Dubuque Community School District is to develop world class learners and citizens of character in a safe and inclusive learning community. Any form of discrimination or harassment can be devastating to an individual’s academic progress, social relationships and sense of self-worth. Therefore, the Dubuque Community School District will not tolerate discrimination or harassment in its educational program on the basis of a person’s protected status, such as age, color, creed, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, physical attributes, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.
The mission of George Washington Middle School is to develop each student’s learning potential in a caring environment.
PBIS SCHOOL CLIMATE EXPECTATIONS
All adults are responsible for teaching, whether that is within the walls of the classroom or in any other area of the building (hallways, cafeteria, etc). All adults are responsible for the academic and social/emotional growth of our students. Even though we are divided into houses, we are one community. All staff members are expected to contribute to a positive climate/culture. The culture of our building, our ability to provide consistency with expectations, and commitment to our mission directly impacts student performance and achievement. Teams should focus on balance.
Collaborating with positive intentions to support & help each other grow personally and professionally, without judgment. Community is achieved when we are personally investing in a common goal with peers. Each person, regardless of title, experience, etc. is valued equally in a strong community.
Accepting & acknowledging differences both personally and professionally; willingness to be open-minded, share and supports others’ needs while maintaining confidentiality. A respectful community is always honest & open with each other while respecting each member’s right to privacy.
Checking in personally & professionally with co-workers. This includes active listening, supporting, encouraging and celebrating successes. Apologizing and forgiving each other for mistakes.
Having a positive attitude with an open mind while embracing change & taking risks while seeing failure as a way to grow; it’s fostering a positive learning environment by being supportive and helpful of all learning styles, strengths, & weaknesses.
Harmoniously contributing to a common goal with a willingness to share new ideas, take risks, show patience, and assist others. Consistently doing your best while growing personally & professionally.
EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENTS SUCCESS
Staff must be familiar with student etiquette found in the student agenda so that we can provide consistency in expectations. Students are expected to demonstrate GWMS values (respect, caring, community, learning and excellence). Students will be successful by carrying out GWMS core rules (introduced 09-10):
- Do your best
- Be prepared
- Be on time
- Get help
- Ask questions