Area Middle Schools Awarded for Teaching Practices
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Two School District 51 schools are proving that middle school is more than just about cramming for tests or making that sports team.
Both Bookcliff Middle School and Redlands Middle School have been named "School to Watch.”
State leaders selected them for their academic excellence in response to the needs and interests of these young kids. Officials say during this stage, is about learning though hands-on activities since this age group tend to be concrete thinkers.
“If change had sound, middle schools would be sonic booms all the time,” said Cathy Drake, principal at Bookcliff Middle School.
Drake says it’s important for these kids to learn these skills because there’s so much change going on during this transitional stage. This is why the school teaches their students through activities like “herding.”
“It’s a bonding thing we do together and we do actives and we mix groups in,” said Morgan Wright, 7th grade student at Bookcliff Middle School.
This early morning ritual is a form of cross-grade level education, that helps these middle schoolers develop social skills.
Drake says during this period, they still need to provide high-quality education, which is maybe the reason why this school was chosen yet again as a "School to Watch."
“They are looking for schools that are on trajectory of growth and have successful practices,” said Mary Jones, executive director of middle schools at School District 51. “They pick schools that other schools across our state can come and watch them and say ‘how can we get better?’.”
But School District 51 isn't proud to have just one school within their district that's been coined a “School to Watch" but two, as Redlands Middle School made this year's short list as well.
“It’s an indication that we care about kids,” said Kelly Reed, principal at Redlands Middle School. “That the kids get a good education and that we teach them and care about the whole child, including their safety and well fare.”
As these students transition from small kids to young adults, it's vital they get all the necessary support.
“All those things that help them balance what they want to do, what the want to be as an adult, instead of limiting their scope, our job is to make them full, well rounded individuals so they are ready to meet life,” said Reed.
Leading kids like Wright to learn first hands how important it is to know all elements during this stage, and even encouraging other schools to participate in educational activities like “herding.”
“I think it would help the schools bond together and have them get a feel of the other people in the school,” said Wright.
Never in the history of Colorado have two schools in the same district been awarded “School to Watch” within the same year.