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North Middle School

Grade Level
Middle School
Region
Southeast

Collaborating and systemic planning

Meeting with North Middle School, it’s easy to notice their emphasis on teamwork. Each member of the leadership team speaks about their area of expertise, but each can also explain how every piece of their work is crucial to the whole integrated system.

Such fluency with the system did not happen overnight, but rather is the result of years of collaboration and systemic planning. It began eight years ago when North Middle School, seeking to reduce their high number of suspensions, sought out training in PBIS. Concurrently, Associate Principal Scott Marty led a team to begin the systemic use of restorative practice strategies. The school came to see a natural connection between the two. “We operate with a restorative philosophy within the framework,” Principal Lynn Grimm said. These efforts contributed to a decline in the number of suspensions.

Additionally, North Middle School launched a continuous improvement process and changed their structures to better use data. Staff became specific about the types of data to collect. “One of our biggest successes has been in our universal behavior data,” Grimm said. As the team analyzed this data and made adjustments, they were also able to apply this learning to the academic portion of their system. Over the last seven years, the team has built an academic intervention system for literacy and mathematics and created a problem-solving flowchart around student need.

Incorporating student voice is also an important key to North Middle’s success. The administration put several processes in place to include students in school decisions. Each month, homeroom teachers share data with their classes and the students and teachers have a discussion and select a representative to attend “flex rep council.” The council, made up of the student representatives, meets with an administrator and a counselor to decide on a focus area, how progress will be measured, and what students would like as an incentive for meeting their goals. “Students get a chance to have a voice in what’s going on in the building and work towards doing something about it in a short period of time,” Behavioral Interventionist JC Bruns said.

Multiple times a year, North Middle School holds circle feedback loops between students, the administration, and the superintendent. The consistent focus is on how students can be supported in a collaborative team environment. “We really listen to student feedback,” Principal Grimm said.

https://www.fallsschools.org/north