FUTURE-READY MIDDLE SCHOOLS
Blue Valley Schools is committed to looking at middle school programming in a quest to design student-centered learning experiences to ensure our students are future-ready to follow their passions with purpose.
MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDY
The Middle School Study began in the spring of 2016 with the study of best practices, reflections on the work of educational thought leaders and opportunities to learn from other schools across the nation. The work also included student, teacher and parent surveys, research and community conversations.
The district invited two groups to regularly partner in the Middle School Study conversation—a Middle School Study Task Force made up of parent representatives and a Middle School Study Process Team of middle school teachers and administrators. The groups met throughout the 2017-18 school year. Their work included enhancing the middle school experience through student-centered instruction that provided students opportunities to experience achievement, the development of skills and engagement.
Following a December 2017 update to the Board of Education, the groups hosted parent information nights at each middle school that previewed the schedule enhancements for the 2018-19 school year and provided opportunities for feedback. Highlights of schedule enhancements include:
- Change in start time: Addition of four minutes to the middle school schedule that allows for additional elective opportunities and passing periods, and changes start time to 7:41 a.m.
- Longer core class time: Flexibility within the schedule that provides extended blocks of learning time in core classes like English language arts, math, science and social studies
- More elective slots: Three time slots for electives every day for every student
- Integration of reading: Reading will be integrated into all areas including English language arts, math, science and social studies
- Reading strategies class: Development of a reading strategies class to provide personalized support for students reading below grade level
- Flex time: Building-designed time that provides flexibility to meet the unique needs of students
- Online PE: First-semester online class will be offered to a pilot group of seventh and eighth grade students who needed more flexibility within their schedule to take additional classes (administrative approval required)
- Special education services: New opportunities to personalize special education services for students including the amount of time and location of services
- Interventions: Schedule flexibility to provide math and organizational interventions (or others as needed)
- Intramurals: Opportunities for students to try extracurricular activities in a fun setting
The recommended schedule enhancements will be implemented at all middle schools in the 2018-19 school year. Throughout the year, the Middle School Study Task Force and Middle School Study Process Team will meet to review the implementation process and look for opportunities to continue to enhance the middle school experience.
Each middle school will work within their community to determine what intramurals their students are interested in pursuing with implementation to follow.