New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions
Posted on 01/03/2018
Deb Haag's picture

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s January 3 and hopefully all your New Year’s Resolutions are going strong! The beauty of January is the feeling that you get to start fresh on whatever you chose. At Mexico Middle School we also take advantage of this feeling with all of our students. During the first part of January the faculty and then the students take a close look at how their reading has progressed from the beginning of the year according to their iReady scores. iReady is a diagnostic test that we use to measure how well a student is reading. Students take the benchmark three times a year in the fall, winter, and spring.

At the Middle School students develop a reading goal with their PAWS teacher. PAWS is the Middle School’s advisory period at the end of the day that focuses on building strong relationships between their fellow students and their teacher as well as monitoring student’s academic progress.The reading goal starts with a year’s growth. However, in January if the goal is met or the student is close to the goal, we move the target for more growth. Teachers use the data from the iReady test to determine their GROWL class.

GROWL is for one period during the school day and is designed to meet the needs of different readers. For example if we know a student is struggling with vocabulary, comprehension of fiction, or non-fiction comprehension, the student is put in a smaller class for that hour that focuses on this deficiency. Students who are strong readers are placed in a larger class that focuses on reading and writing at a higher level. Teams use data that is both quantitative and qualitative to determine if students should move in or out of a GROWL class. This is primarily done after an iReady benchmark in the fall or winter.

Reading is a huge focus at the middle level. While middle level teachers often did not learn how to teach reading in college, they work hard to develop their own skills in order to help our students become better readers. The mindset that student should already know how to read when they get to middle school has been replaced with how can we make each child the best reader we can before they get to high school. This requires a lot of thought, effort, and a commitment to using data to drive instruction to help students become better readers.

Just like adults, kids need accountability partners which is another reason that this is a focus in our GROWL hour, PAWS advisory period, and in core classrooms. We also invite parents to be part of this partnership. As a parent, encouraging your student to read for 30 minutes a day will increase reading abilities. Helping hold our kids accountable truly takes the all hands on deck approach we need to achieve our mission, Making Minds Stronger. As a parent or community member we challenge you to be our accountability partners. Feel free to ask our kids if they have read 30 minutes a day. Please offer a suggestion of your favorite book, magazine, or website. We believe reading is the first step to helping kids be successful and successful kids means a successful community! Thank you in advance for being part of that success!