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Southwest Middle School 2011-2012. A new beginning. Transition Team Formed January, 2011. Members: Dr. Jean Jordan-Principal SW Dave Ware-Science Teacher SW Erin Johnson-5 th Lakeview Carol Johnson-6 th Sibley Jim Munyer-Counselor SW Brenda Morris- Phy.Ed . SW

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transition team formed january 2011
Transition Team Formed January, 2011


Dr. Jean Jordan-Principal SW

Dave Ware-Science Teacher SW

Erin Johnson-5th Lakeview

Carol Johnson-6th Sibley

Jim Munyer-Counselor SW

Brenda Morris-Phy.Ed. SW

Beth Isaacson-Special Ed. SW

Penny Hagen-Special Ed. SW

Rebekah Crissinger-Orchestra SW-ALHS

Jill Nelson-Math SW

Janece Birch-English/Social Studies SW

Wendy Greenfield-Social Studies SW


Our Mission: Create a new middle school designed for 6th-7th Grade Students that meets our District AIMS. Our school will be safe and welcoming. Our school will provide increased opportunities. Students will be able to achieve to the best of their abilities.We will run effectively and efficiently.

organizational structures
Organizational structures

Reasons to return to a Middle School Model

  • Allows for team teaching
  • Creates a more flexible schedule
  • Makes it easier for Interdisciplinary units
  • Builds stronger more meaningful relationships with students
  • Decreases the number of transitions the students need to make
  • Creates a “Home Base” for each team

Safe and Welcoming Increased Opportunity and Achievement

developmental realities
Developmental Realities
  • Besides the fundamental survival needs shared by all human beings, adolescents are driven to satisfy their strong needs for relationship, a sense of competence and autonomy, and the chance to have some fun. A day without these things is disappointing, and sometimes impossible for them to handle. (Thomas O. Erb, 2005)
these are our students
These are our students…
  • “Do you want to switch pants?” (said to teacher)
  • “Don’t you make the milk?” (said to teacher)
  • “Don’t lick the bottom of your shoe.” (said to student)
  • “No, I will not give you a dollar to eat the worm.” (said to student)

We Believe, we are educators who value working with this age group and are prepared to do so…..(Turning Points 2000)

  • Middle school teachers are experts at teaching young adolescents by knowing their growth patterns, for example:
  • (Yardsticks, 2007)
  • Restless and very energetic
  • Like to test limits
  • Need adult empathy, humor and sensitivity to help them cope with their rapidly changing bodies and minds
  • Enjoy arguing and debating; appreciate humor and imitate adult language
  • Would rather learn new skills rather than review and improve on previous work


  • (Yardsticks, 2007)
  • Enjoy physical education and sports
  • Care more about peer opinions than those of teachers and parents
  • Will initiate their own activities without adult prompting
  • May begin to excel at a skill in a subject or skill such as science or drawing
  • Interested in civics, current events, social justice and pop culture
  • More reasonable and tolerant than at age eleven


  • Opportunities for cross-age tutoring
  • Community Service
  • Hosting visitors and additional educational programs
  • Nurturing and encouraging students to improve their ability to resolve issues
  • Better integrate their learning by using collaborative learning
  • Cross-disciplinary teaching models
  • Teaming / Common staff prep time for cohesive units and more purposeful curriculum time
    • Safe and Welcoming Increased Opportunity and Achievement
social emotional curriculum
Social/Emotional Curriculum

A meta-analysis of 207 studies of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs which involved a broadly representative group of almost 30,000 students urban, suburban and rural, elementary and secondary schools found that students who participate in SEL programs (compared with students who do not experience SEL) profit in many ways. (CASEL, 2007) They improve significantly in:

1. Social and emotional skills

2. Attitudes about themselves, others and school

3. Social and classroom behavior

4. Achievement-test scores and school grades

adult advocate for every student advisory
Adult Advocate for Every Student-Advisory

One adult and a small group of students have an opportunity to interact on a scheduled basis in order to provide a caring environment for academic guidance and support, everyday administrative details, recognition and activities to promote citizenship.

National Middle School Association (NMSA)


“An adult advocate for every student.”

“Multifaceted guidance and support services.”

“An inviting, supportive, and safe environment.”

This We Believe

Advisory Goal – Relationships: peers are very important to adolescents, but adults play an important role, as well.Developmental Designs

Anecdote – “Too Shy to Ask”


“Educators who value working with this age group and are prepared to do so.”

“School-initiated family and community partnerships.”

This We Believe

Advisory Opportunities:

  • Student-led conferences
  • Scheduled conferences for parents
  • A contact person for parents
  • School news and announcements
  • Meet PBIS Goals – modeling behavior expectations and social skills
  • Continue the Responsive Classroom model which students have learned and adapted to in Albert Lea elementary schools

Anecdote – “Who Do I Call?”


“Organizational Structures that support meaningful relationships and learning.” This We Believe

Additional Goals of Advisory –Developmental Designs

  • Autonomy – adolescents long for independence – “Young people need activities with enough structure so that youths are challenged, but also enough flexibility so that, as youths gain experience, they assume responsibility for the direction of the activity.”
  • Competence – “A major cause of underachievement is the inability of student to control one’s own behavior … Research indicates that learning self-regulatory skills can lead to greater achievement and an increased efficacy …”
  • “Fun is the genetic reward for learning” (Glasser, 1998)
cognitive curriculum that is relevant challenging integrative and exploratory
Cognitive Curriculum that is relevant, challenging, integrative, and exploratory.
  • Interdisciplinary units
  • Math & Reading Classes will be created that are above grade level, at grade level and at intervention level.
  • Electives
  • Exploratory Days-Extended class periods/special days devoted to pursuit of activities outside of regular curriculum
  • Flexible schedule
  • Ability to move kids based upon needs—flexible grouping
  • Opportunity for students to mix with students from other teams
  • Offer possibilities of clubs-Science, Math, etc..
  • Offer opportunity to explore topics in more depth
    • Increased Opportunity and Achievement

Math Standards & Curriculum6.1.2.2,, Use mixtures and concentrations with fractions and ratios-Students measure and make snack mix in voyageurs’ packsSolve real-world problems with fractions and mixed numbers-n-Students compute how much food can be carried in packs, divide up supplies, compute how many pounds per canoeConverting within measurement systems-Students will convert from metric to traditional for weight of backpacks


Language Arts Standards and Curriculum:

6.1.C.12,6.II.D.2, 6.II.A.1

Compare/Contrast information from different sources on the same topic-Students research voyageurs’ diaries, historical accounts from Fort Snelling, and Fort William’s storehouse inventories.

Create outlines, logical notes, and summaries across content areas-Students use Social Studies (Minnesota History’s Northern Lights), Science, and Reading texts for notetaking and summaries.

Write in a variety of forms-Students write poems from perspective of voyageurs, songs to sing while paddling, voyageur diaries, posters advertising for help at the fur-trading post or as a voyageur.


Science/Health Standards & Curriculum

Science-,, Healthy Choices

Describe trade-offs in using manufactured products in terms of features, durability, and cost-Students compare environmental effects of motorboating versus canoeing, building own canoe versus buying one.

Explain import of learning from past failures in order to inform future designs-Students study the dangers of creosote on the lungs, how pipe-smoking and drinking affected life span of voyageurs.


Art/Music/Physical Education

Art: Students make a collage of Rendezvous activities (similar to Eloise Adams’ renderings).

Music: Students learn French songs such as Alouettelearning body parts in French.

Physical Education: Students record heart rate after participating in activities at the Rendezvous, record calories burned.


Positives for Special Education

  • Students with disabilities are classmates first and members of a special education population second.
  • Facilitates appropriate social behavior
  • Promotes levels of higher achievement
  • Promotes better understanding of similarities among students
    • Safe and Welcoming Increased Opportunity and Achievement
school initiated family and community partnerships
School –initiated family and community partnerships.
  • Reestablish a PTO
  • Advisory program will have a more active role
    • Have student-led conferences with the potential to have students share their work on an electronic platform via the smartboard
  • Extra Curricular Opportunities
    • 7th and 8th grade students will continue to have athletic practices here at Southwest. 8th grade students will be bussed over from the High School
    • 6th grade may have after school opportunities through Park & Rec, Community Education and the school district.
an orientation that will welcome the incoming 6 th and 7 th graders
An orientation that will welcome the incoming 6th and 7th graders

Current 5th and 6th graders will come and visit the building in May and again in August

opportunities that our students will have
Opportunities that our students will have:
  • Math and Reading will be made available on either an accelerated, grade or intervention level.
  • Students will be able to participate in multiple music groups
  • Broader selection of electives available that were not able to occur at the elementary level
great things to continue
Great things to continue….
  • Our school wide Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) “Paw”sitives Success Tags
  • Tiger Trot
  • All-school Dodge Ball


  • Trip to the Guthrie Theatre
  • Rendezvous and the Capitol Trip

for the Sixth Graders

  • Spring Play
shared vision that guides decisions
Shared Vision that guides decisions.
  • Teams will use their spring early outs to organize/clarify/work together to create structures and plans for next year
  • There will be a parent meeting on April 7th where we will share the same power point and answer any questions that they may have
  • All 5th and 6th grade students will visit the school in May and again in August
  • School teacher teams like Building Leadership, PBIS will continue with new members
  • Team has received a grant to explore Developmental Designs.
  • We understand that this is a work in progress and therefore expect that changes may be made throughout the year