Creating a high-quality school culture where students feel welcome, safe, connected, and poised to learn is a top priority for our middle school. We monitor this by giving students a voice and surveying them to gain insights into their educational experience. Annually, staff analyze the schoolwide results of the student perception survey, and teachers received personalized feedback to reflect on as well. Staff work together to identify areas of strength, opportunities for improvement, and developed improvement plans. Strong research supports such practices around developing a positive school culture.
Our middle school has fully implemented a robust advisory program that meets Monday through Thursday to purposefully build strong school culture. We utilize a social-emotional development curriculum at all grades called Second Step. The Second Step Program is a research-based, teacher-informed, and classroom-tested digital curriculum to promote the social-emotional development, safety, and well-being of children through grade 8. Social-emotional learning (SEL) lessons are taught weekly at every grade level in an effort to improve our overall school culture. Also, teachers purposefully advise their core group of advisory students through the middle years as well, with the goal of meeting with students at least once per month.
Finally, teachers focus on developing a strong rapport with their students based on the Search Institute's research around the Developmental Relationship Framework. This framework highlights five key elements: express care, challenge growth, provide support, share power and expand possibilities. Our staff continues to work to refine and develop a positive school culture at the middle school and monitor these efforts as we strive towards the goal of being the best middle school in Colorado.