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ERIC Number: EJ851792
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Seaford Middle School: One Tough Team
Rourke, James; Boone, Elizabeth
Principal Leadership, v9 n10 p32-35 Jun 2009
When Stephanie Smith became the principal of Seaford (Delaware) Middle School four years ago, she was told to accept the fact that the school would never be able to change its status as a school that needed to improve. She did not accept that. To improve performance levels, she set the expectations high. Her defiance paid off: the school is now rated "commendable" and the staff members, students, and parents are justifiably proud of their accomplishments. Student achievement has improved, the school climate is more positive, and the school reaches out to parents and the community. Early in her principalship, Smith accepted a $25,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation to train her staff members in the tenets of distributive leadership. A schoolwide emphasis on changing the school's climate also contributed to Seaford's improvement. The school adopted a positive behavior system to give staff members ways to reward students for appropriate behavior and to emphasize pride in their school. In addition, Seaford reached out to parents and community members, drawing them in to support the school's new atmosphere. As a result, staff members find that they're less likely to leave Seaford and more excited to be part of the changes in the school. Strong leadership and the full participation of students, staff members, and the community are getting outstanding results. Students' academic achievement continues to improve--the school has seen a 15% gain in three years in its reading scores and a 14% gain in mathematics over the same time period.
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: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Delaware