Middle School Program Review Steering Committee Wednesday, September 22, 2010 1:00 pm

Middle School Program Review Steering Committee
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
1:00 pm
Attending: Mark Parr, Steve Troen, Joel Albright, Mary Kreger, Pete Zak, Rich Wendorff, Mary
Thompson, Dan Wilharber, Trevor Johnson, Noel Mehus, Dave McKeag
Not Present: Jackie Magnuson, Julie Olson,
I. Introduce agenda and guests
Pete Dymit
Catherine Gillach
Sheryl Hough
Shawn Dudley
Minnetonka East
Lakeville Century
Edina Valley View
Presentations from schools/panel discussion
Minnetonka East: Minnetonka East consists of grades 6-8 and has approx 900 students. The
reason why their district implemented a change to their schedule came from the request of their
school board. The school board gave them 19 recommendations which were narrowed down to
The top three recommendations were:
1. Challenge with higher rigor in Language Arts and Science.
2. Flexibility
3. Stronger support for all learners.
There is a need to treat 8th graders as high school students. 8th grade teachers share their prep
with their departments, 7th grade is departmentalized and 6th grade is focusing on team building
and share their prep time with their team. Minnetonka’s previous schedule was a 7 period day
which is changed to a 6 period day due to financial reasons. Teachers teach 5 classes and have
one prep time. Each class is 46 -55 minutes in length with an intense focus on each class.
Teachers meet before classes start for staff/student meeting. The student day is 9:15 – 3:55
Lakeville Century: The main emphasis is to increase the rigor of high achievers. Advisory
time is used for remedial and honors programs. 6th graders will have math, science, social
studies with a double period of literacy along with PE and Music every day. 7th graders will have
math, science, social studies, double literacy and PE/Music every other day. 8th grade has the
same class schedule except language arts changes to English, more career focus and AVID is
Chaska West: The Chaska/Chanhassen School District revamped Grades 6-12. The emphasis
for the middle/high schools is to prepare the student for post secondary. Each middle school
works with the high school they feed into. Chaska is on trimesters with a special Hexter (6 week
course) offered throughout the year for exploratory electives. The schedule changed from a 7
period day to a modified 7 period day on M/T/F and on W/Th block scheduled day. Chaska
offers Mandarin Chinese, Spanish for Native Speakers and a Credit Recovery program for all 3
grades. Each principal from the high school and middle schools meet weekly, staff has monthly
department meetings. The student day is 7:30 – 2:20 and the teacher day is from 7:15 – 3:15
with staff/parent/student meetings from 2:30 – 3:15.
Edina ValleyView: Grades 6-9 with the main emphasis on personalization for each student.
Each day has a 42 minute problem solving period. Scheduling is based on the student’s needs.
progress monitoring, Math Probe, Tier I Instructions and the use of Marzano Strategies is
Can you tell us specifically what your school does to create an intensive school wide focus on
student achievement-outcomes:
Minnetonka focuses on NWA data with a commitment to the PLC and what is important for the
students. Lakeville stresses student achievement, pre-assessment strategies and the use of
differentiation training. Chaska expects high expectations for all students and staff. Focus on
raising the bar with excellent teaching not excellent teachers. Edina focuses on data, strategies
and re-teaching strategies. They believe to help students be competent to feel good not just to
feel good and be non-competent.
What specifically are you doing to focus on standards based instructions?
Minnetonka: Continue examining the data which reflects on curriculum.
Lakeville: Serve your students well.
Chaska: Bring everyone together to know what expectations are for parents, students, and
Edina: Learning targets are posted throughout the school, high level of engagement and content,
gradebooks are set up differently to reflect student learning.
After the four principals left the committee shared their impressions.
Dave: Expressed how he like the role of principals to be leaders, a time to meet with teachers
before school starts is wonderful.
Joel: Emphasis on intervention.
Trevor: Assessments and data drive what they do.
Rich: Teaming aspect for the 6th grade level, 8th gr role to prepare students for high school level.
Steve: The ability of having time to work together.
Mary: Having literacy monitoring how others are checking/assessing the progress.
Mark: Intervention during the day, changing the schedule to meet the child’s needs- double up
on math and literacy.
Noel: Larger classes on the upfront and smaller for remedial.
Mary: Focus on achievement then based on how, no barriers were listed.
Tom: Likes the idea that teacher time before class to work with teachers.
Steve: 3 Hallmarks- rigor, choice and support.
Rich: Department teaming.
Dan: Teaming is important and having time dedicated is great.
Noel: Impressed on the role of instruction and focusing on the student. Not using frilly things to
make students to feel good. Principals being an instructional leader
Mark: Committee needs to retrofit examples from the top schools and develop a program.
Dave: Choose a model, and then design a perfect program. Liked what was communicated, use
of leadership, this is the direction we are heading for, teaming, curriculum then compare each
individual school of what works.
Dan: Used the analogy of a beautiful truck may look great but will not work if all four tires are
not. The emphasis needs to be on defining the four pillars/tires/rocks to support the model.
Discussion regarding what core classes should be decided on and which model would best meet
the child’s needs.
There was a high interest in a need to have the before school time with teachers.
Next meeting: Thursday, Sept 30, Tuesday, October 5, Thursday, October 14, 2010.