Standard 4: The school has resources and provides services that support its purpose and direction to ensure success for all students.
All resources at Simons Middle School are used to ensure that the purpose and direction of the school is being supported. Our teachers receive classroom money to spend directly on students or instructional materials needed that support the curriculum. In some cases, instructional money has been pooled in departments to purchase more expensive instructional materials that are needed in specific content areas. The administration at SMS exhausts every option to provide materials and resources to teachers; if there is a need, it is rare that the need is not met. In our school, instructional time is fiercely protected by our administration and teachers; interruptions are kept to a minimum to protect teaching and learning in the building. Instructional money is also used to purchase programs that support student achievement in math and reading. These efforts move the school program in the direction of continuous improvement in instruction to achieve the school’s purpose as outlined in the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.
To support our purpose and direction to ensure success for all students we have organized our school into four teams; two for 7th grade and two for 8th grade. These teams are made up of a content teacher from English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. Teachers from the unified arts (Health and Physical Education, Visual Arts, Practical Living and Career Studies, and Music) also join as a member of each team on a rotating basis each 9 weeks. Some teams also have additional members such as Special Education Teachers or a Library Media Specialist. The team concept works really well for students at this level as it provides students with an additional layer of support during the two years that they spend at SMS. Per Board Policy the numbers of certified and classified staff members are determined each year. A few years ago, due to budget cuts, there were not enough content teachers employed at SMS to operate in a team concept. However, since 2014, support and funding has been provided from the district to ensure there are enough teachers to allow the school to operate in teams. District administration is supportive of the team concept and is dedicated to ensuring that the staffing needs for the school are met.
At SMS we maintain facilities, services, and equipment to provide a safe, clean and healthy environment for all students and staff. The custodians at our school do an excellent job in providing a clean environment where students can learn and staff can work. Each month an independent contractor comes to evaluate the cleanliness of the building and we always score well on these reviews. Our school has three custodial staff members, one of which is the head custodian. The head custodian ensures that high expectations for keeping the school campus clean are met. Health inspection records as kept by the food service program indicate a commitment to cleanliness and consistency. The SMS Emergency Management Plan has been recently revised and the appropriate drills are completed by the study body as required.
At Simons Middle School, we provide a plethora of support services to meet the physical, social and emotional needs of our students. Students at SMS have available to them many different programs to help meet their needs. Not only do students at Simons Middle School have available to them a full-time Guidance Counselor, they also have a full-time Family Resource and Youth Service Center Coordinator. Our school Guidance Counselor not only provides counseling for students but also works closely with the administration to develop programs and identify students who need extra help. She also helps students complete their ILPs and works with the teacher in Practical Living to schedule guest speakers for students to help them better understand different career pathways. The FRYSC Coordinator is an excellent resource for students as she helps to make sure the needs of students beyond school are being met. The FRYSC Coordinator also works closely with other departments to ensure students have access to high quality programs such as the Reality Store, the Dental Van, Etiquette Class, Health Fair, Back to School Gala, Christmas Assistance Program, 7th Grade Orientation, Transition Program to Middle School, Family Crisis and Mental Health Counseling, Red Ribbon Week, Mentor Program and more. The FRYSC Coordinator at our school goes above and beyond to ensure that all students have all of their needs meet.
Simons Middle School provides services that support the counseling, assessment, referral, educational and career planning needs of all students. There are a variety of programs in place at Simons Middle School that help to determine and meet the needs of all students. SMS has a full time Guidance Counselor, but also has counseling services from an outside agency that help meet needs of students. The progress of all students is monitored in various ways including Cougar Coach Program, Response to Intervention Classes, ARC Meetings, and through work with Student Learning Communities. Students Learning Communities are utilized in some classrooms to help students better understand their progress towards meeting the high expectations that are set by teachers. Students at Simons Middle School also complete the Individual Learning Plan each year during their practical living and career studies class. The ILP helps students to better understand their college and career goals by providing them with individualized plans based on information that they provide.
Our students and personnel use a range or media and information resources to support the school's educational programs. In fact, our Media Center is up to date and provides a variety of sources of information for students and personnel that cover all content areas and various points of view. The Media Center has received numerous grants over the last several years, which have helped to ensure that the materials available to staff and students are both current and relevant to the educational process at SMS. Currently, Simons Middle School does not employ a certified School Library; the former Librarian took the job of Assistant Principal several days before the beginning of the school year and a suitable replacement could not be found. In the spring, it is our plan to hire a highly qualified and certified school Library Media Specialist. Until a suitable replacement is found, we have a full-time substitute teacher in that position who has some experience using the library information system and the materials in the media center.
With our purpose and direction in mind, each classroom in our building has been equipped with a SMART Board and at least one teacher work station. We also have three computer labs, one of which is in the library. Within the last year, we purchased one iPad cart lab, and another was given to the school from the district office, so we would have enough technology for students to complete work on online intervention programs. While there are some technologies available to students and to teachers, the infrastructure is dated, as are the student work stations in the computer labs throughout the building. It is our hope that the district will fund additional technology within the next year so that students and teachers can have more available technology.
A long term goal at SMS is to eventually become a school where each student has access to a laptop and a platform that will help to complete, individualize, and differentiate instruction. We would also like for teachers to be able to use technology more effectively to communicate with parents by providing professional development to staff on how to use teacher websites. Because we recognize this a priority, we will call upon our Leadership Team to develop plans on how to help staff better use available technology and how to train them to use tools that they are not currently using.
- Site Based Decision Making Council Policies ensure that adequate personnel and support staff are available. *
- Time, material and fiscal resources are used to support the purpose and direction of the school.
- Monthly building inspections and drills are completed and documented in the Emergency Management Plan.
- Students and school personnel have access to a range of informational resources via the school media center and beyond which support the schools educational programs and the curriculum.
- Technology supports teaching and learning throughout the building.
- School provides adequate and abundant support services for students.
- Simons Middle provides support for student in career planning and in other areas that help meet the various needs of students.