Highland Park Middle School implements core subject teaming that consists of four teachers (English, math, science and humanities), who share a group of students. Teaming is generally considered the heart and soul of the middle school model. During the team periods students are covering the standard curriculum at a regular or challenge level, as well as integrating a focus area such as instructional technology, writing across the curriculum, or language immersion. Team teachers meet consistently to discuss curriculum, review class progress and discuss individual student issues.
As you know, adolescence is a time of tremendous change physically, emotionally and academically. The transition from elementary to middle school can be one of the most exciting and challenging times in a student’s life. In most elementary schools children are taught in one or two classrooms with the same group of students and one or two teachers. At Highland Park Middle School, students have to get used to several teachers, many new students, and new sets of expectations academically and socially. Academically, students must learn to juggle homework and long term project assignments from possibly six different teachers. Socially, they must learn how to make new friends responsibly, exercise their growing independence and deal with physical changes and how those changes impact their relationships with peers.
The National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Middle School Association recommend that schools adopt transition plans to “restore the strong sense of belonging the entering middle school students once felt in elementary school.” One part of our plan at Highland is to expand teaming. The developmental differences that 12 and 13 year old students experience calls for more support to help them make a smooth transition.
What Are the Benefits for Your Child?
Team teachers have identified the following benefits of being on a team:
- Sense of belonging - When students transition to junior high school, they adapt to a larger school, new teachers, new expectations and a complex schedule. Being on a team gives them a “home base,” a common group of teachers and students.
- Consistent, clear Expectations - instead of having eight different teachers, each with his/her own rules, students can expect clear guidelines concerning behavior, homework, etc., from the team teachers.
- Tracking student progress - because all four teachers have the same students, they are able to get a view of the students’ abilities and progress.
- Helpful communication with parents and guardians - one teacher can contact parent/guardians when needed and relay information related to the student’s progress in all four classes.
How can I find out more information about teams?
Please call 651-293-8950 if you have questions concerning teaming.
For more information about middle schools and how you can support the needs of adolescents go to the National Middle School Association website at Home Page: http://nmsa.org/
If you do a site search for teaming, the first item on the resulting list has a link for "teaming" (the word in blue as part of the item text). If you click on this, it takes you to a list of topics. You need to scroll down to teaming and then click again. This gives you a list of articles and or presentations.
Family Connections. If you click on Services/Resources (left column of home page) and then Family Connections (right column) it takes you to an archive of their parent newsletters
National PTA Home Page: http://www.pta.org/
Link to Minnesota PTA: http://www.mnpta.org/