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Policy Briefing Recap: Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Middle School Students

Policy Briefing Recap: Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Middle School Students

From left to right: Eduardo Mora, Michael Selkis, Calvin Hastings

On December 5, 2012, CCC held a Policy Briefing, “Keeping Middle School Students on Track for High School Graduation,” which brought together educators, parents and advocates to learn about the strategies being used to identify struggling middle school students and the successful interventions helping these students stay on track for graduation.

The middle school years are critical to children’s academic achievement, as they lay the foundation for high school success or alternatively, can be the years when students begin to disengage from school, putting them at risk for dropping out.

The Policy Briefing illustrated how school leaders can use data and youth engagement strategies to both better support individual students and bolster school-wide practices that generate positive student outcomes.

Panelists included:

  • Calvin Hastings, Senior Director for Middle School Quality at the New York City Department of Education (DOE):  Calvin Hastings spoke about DOE’s Middle School Quality Initiative and related efforts to improve literacy outcomes among 6th through 8th graders city-wide.  He also explained how the DOE is working to embed the concept of college and career readiness, often associated with high school, into the middle grades.
  • Michael Selkis, Director of School Development and Support and Director /Network Leader, FHI 360:  Michael Selkis leads the FHI 360 network, which provides instructional support to 22 NYC schools in four boroughs. He talked about early warning tools for identifying struggling middle school students and used the research by Dr. Robert Balfanz at Johns Hopkins University as an example of how schools identify and respond to both the individual needs of students and the needs of the school as a whole.
  • Eduardo Mora, Assistant Principal of the Arts Academy, New School for Leadership and the Arts (MS 244, Bronx):  Eduardo Mora spoke about his middle school’s work with FHI 360, their use of early warning indicators, and the decisions his school has made regarding resource allocation to support this critical work.

To learn more about Dr. Balfanz’s research on early warning indicators among middle school students, read this brief (pdf) from the National Middle School Association.

Watch this video clip from the PBS series, “Frontline” to learn more about MS 244’s work to identify at-risk middle school students and provide them with the interventions needed to keep them on track.

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2 Comments

  1. Ina Norris
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    The school system needs to take ownership for setting a tone for teachers to only use punitive methods to deal with at risk children. Intervention teams are needed and round tabling everyone associated with that child can have far reaching and preventive measures.

  2. Susie
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I honestly find this video a liltte hmm words fear-mongering? Like, most kids are internet savvy enough to know not to go meet up with some random dude they met on facebook by themselves. I work with teens the teens I work with know this stuff! And since when is thinking it is okay to be gay the biggest issue facing teenagers today? I know many mature adult Christians who struggle with that, and many who have come to the conclusion through careful study that Gay monogamous relationships are not offensive to God. Now, whether or not the hatred and contention surrounding this issues will drive teenagers, increasingly exposed to gay peers, away from the Church is another issue entirely. Now there is a sort of postmodern everything everyone thinks is okay thing happening with a lot of youth .that they have learned from the adults around them!! The video was interesting, but most teenagers I know would laugh at this caricature of themselves. Those are my thoughts. Blessings to you, and thanks for maintaining a consistently thought provoking and honest blog!cheers- rachel

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