Sidney Middle School Professional Learning Communities
For the 2015-16 school year, on the Wednesday early out days, Sidney Middle School teachers have a variety of tasks to accomplish depending upon the schedule for the date. Many Wednesdays, teachers and staff group together by those who work with 6th grade students, 7th grade students or 8th grade students. Each grade level team works with a list of identified as at-risk students through data collected from homework, test scores, behavioral referrals, health issues, and other concerns. Each staff member reports on how each student is doing in their class as well as concerns they may have. This information is discussed and interventions are decided upon to find a way to help each student individually. It is helpful to hear that students may be having similar successes or issues in many classes or, maybe through discussion, staff may realize that a student is having difficulty in just one area. This helps determine which intervention is best suited for each student.
Interventions are strategies designed to help students achieve success at school when the general approach has not been successful. There are several different strategies available to staff and students. Some strategies are academic in nature and serve to help students deal with an academic struggle. Other strategies are more concentrated on behavioral issues or outside influences. Most of these strategies are done within the classroom and are concentrated on one particular student while others may single in on an entire classroom environment. Examples of strategies may be things like differentiating instruction for a particular student (which means adjust the assignment based on the student’s individual needs), it may be finding a way for dealing with test anxiety, having tests read orally or simply helping the student become better at organizing their materials so they come to class prepared every day.
Sidney Middle School offers a few programs above and beyond the normal school schedule. Our staff provides an after school tutorial room where students can go to get extra help and a quiet environment in which to complete homework. It is staffed by up to 3 staff members nightly Monday through Thursday. This is mostly a voluntary program, but at times it a mandatory placement for some students who struggle with homework completion. We also have a program called CICO. This stands for Check in/Check out. This is provided to students who struggle with organization, late work, behavior or attendance problems, etc. Students are referred by their teachers and have to meet a certain criteria. Students in CICO are scored daily by each teacher based on three different requirements per class period. They have goals to meet and are able to work their way through and out of the program based on their effort and success. There is also has a parent component involved in CICO which helps keep parents up to date on progress and know specific needs for homework. The early out time built into the schedule provides an amazing opportunity for our staff to be creative in helping and supporting our students. For more information, please visit with any Sidney Schools administrator.