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MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOL MOTIVATING SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS WITH SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES. Superintendent’s Urban Principal Initiative (SUPI). Dr. Tonya S. Dillard, Principal Ms. Gina Spicer, Assistant Principal Mr. Dexter Saunders, Teacher Leader 2007-2008. Abstract of the Study.
MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOLMOTIVATING SIXTH GRADESTUDENTS WITH SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Superintendent’s Urban Principal Initiative (SUPI)
Dr. Tonya S. Dillard, Principal
Ms. Gina Spicer, Assistant Principal
Mr. Dexter Saunders, Teacher Leader
The study explores what happens in sixth grade when Small Learning Communities are implemented in an urban middle school. Results showed an improvement in school climate among sixth grade students and an improvement in student achievement in math.
We were concerned about the difficulty sixth grade students experienced adapting to the middle school. Sixth grade students performed below the other grade levels in learning gains in both reading and math over the last three years.
They experienced difficulty adjusting to the middle school setting, with multiple teachers and classes to navigate. This can impact student motivation to learn, their attitudes about school and learning gains.
We set out to change the organizational structure and climate, creating two small learning communities by teaming students and teachers in the sixth grade. Each team is comprised of approximately 100 students and four teachers. The teachers plan together once weekly.
School Climate Survey 2007: Adults at my school help me when I need it:
What will happen in sixth grade when small learning communities are implemented in an urban middle school?
Cotton (2001) identifies five key elements of successful SLC’s
Promote self determination of teachers and students to be proactive.
Develop identity as a group.
Personalize the relationships among teachers and student.
Support teachers to assume responsibility for educating all students.
Require functional accountability for learning and student achievement.
National Percentile Rank (NPR) of sixth grade students
School Climate Survey 2007 (All Students)
School Climate Survey 2008 (6th Grade):
Improvement of 44 percentage points!
Findings/Results – School ClimatePercent of students in agreement with the following statements
and helps me learn
Overall, the implementation of small learning communities has positively impacted the sixth grade students at Madison Middle School. The most significant positive changes were seen in the results of the school climate survey completed by sixth grade students. Reading and Math performance showed improvement. The average score in Reading on the January interim assessment improved by four percentage points compared to last year. In math, sixth grade students improved their National Percentile Rank (NPR) on the FCAT Norm Referenced Test (NRT) by six percentage points when comparing 2007 and 2008.