NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ1016765
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Southmoreland Middle School: A Model of True Collaboration
Principal Leadership, v13 n9 p74-80 May 2013
In 2003, Southmoreland was a seventh- and eighth-grade junior high school in the warning category under NCLB for failing to make adequate yearly progress. Scores on state tests were grim--only 39% of the students were proficient or advanced in math and 55% in reading. Two years later, the combined improvement in reading and math scores resulted in the school being ranked 13th in the state; today 90% of the students are proficient or advanced in math and 80% in reading. Recently, the district was identified by the state as being the 11th most-overachieving district in the state. The change began when former principal Tim Scott (now the district's assistant superintendent) attended a summer institute on professional learning communities and introduced the concept to Southmoreland. Teachers who had formerly been assigned to teach multiple grades were now grouped into grade-level teams, classrooms were relocated to reflect a team approach to serving students, and team meetings became a routine practice at the school. The transition from a junior high to a school that embraced effective middle level practices culminated in 2009 when the school's name was changed to Southmoreland Middle School and a new facility opened that had been designed to better facilitate teaming as well as allow the school to add sixth graders to the student body. Now under the leadership of Principal Vincent Mascia, the school has continued to develop and refine a unique teaming process built around a six-day cycle that allows teachers to meet in both grade-level and departmental teams. A high degree of staff member collaboration also allows the math, language arts, science, social studies, and learning support departments to meet once every six days to align the curriculum across the grade levels and share content-specific instructional strategies. In order to achieve this level of collaboration, Mascia identified five key targets: (1) Increase teaming time for core departments; (2) Ensure that learning-support teachers could collaborate and plan both as a department as well as with classroom teachers; (3) Institute individual student learning plans (ISLPs); (4) Use information derived from common formative assessments to refine teaching practices; and (5) Analyze value-added data to monitor student growth. This article describes the steps Mascia took to meet these goals and make Southmoreland Middle School the model of collaboration it is today.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Journal Articles
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A