Last June, Superintendent Larry Waters delivered his commendations and recommendations to Colchester Middle School following a three-month appreciative inquiry as part of an effort to enhance the school’s performance and instruction. Shortly thereafter, as we reported last July, he and members of CMS’s leadership team attended the then National Middle School Association’s 2011 Institute for Middle Level Leadership (now known as the Association for Middle Level Education).
As a result of these and numerous other efforts over the course of the 2011–2012 academic year, a number of changes have taken place at CMS. Here is just a sample of them.
- CMS has created and initiated implementation of school-wide data protocols that will in turn serve to facilitate decisions about curriculum and interventions.
- The School Improvement Plan (SIP) has been designed to allow state-level and common local assessment (CLA) data to help inform instruction and to ensure that educational opportunities are equitable. It works to incorporate research-based instructional strategies, and the Vermont Department of Education has been complimentary of it. In fact, the SIP, the new action plan, and the professional development plan have all been coordinated in order to be most effective.
- The school’s budget has been redesigned in order to facilitate and support additional access to technology. This is particularly important since a major component of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 concerns technology infrastructure and integration.
- All curriculum in all content areas has been rewritten. This was a monumental collaborative effort involving all CMS teachers and administrators. The new curriculum incorporates elements of the Common Core State Standards, the Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities, and technology integration.
- CMS will focus on building common lesson plan templates starting with fall of 2013 in order to support building academic norms and increasing instructional expectations for the learning opportunities offered to its students.
- A three-year plan for professional development is being finalized. This plan will support all faculty and staff to more effectively engage students through the implementation of research-based instructional practices and the use of data-driven decision making in an effort to more systematically support the growth of all learners.
- The school-wide educational support team has been remodeled in order to align with the Vermont Department of Education’s best practices.
- CMS has implemented CloudK12 to replace paper-based student planners. The implementation of this program has already resulted in a cost savings of approximately $5,000 and has facilitated student and parent awareness about projects and assignments.
- CMS has redesigned its master schedule in order to allow for a number of important benefits, including additional curricular opportunities, increased interaction between students and educators, and increased flexibility.
This sampling of changes at CMS is only the beginning. For more information about Colchester Middle School and the changes taking place there, please e-mail Principal Dawn Gruss or call (802) 264-5800.
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