Updated 08/03/2012 05:00 AM
State of Education: NY State Essentials Elements School to Watch
Upon viewing the Glens Falls Middle School Building, you can see a banner which shows it is a New York State Essentials Elements School to Watch. These refer to seven elements of a middle level education. Vince Gallagher reports.
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"And the seven essential elements are basically very sound educational practices that if you implement these with fidelity you will have a successful and an excellent middle school,” said Chris Reed, Glens Falls Middle School Principal.
These include team structure environments and a positive school climate, which is also blended with the four domains of the schools to watch program.
"And those domains are academic excellence, organization and structure, developmental responsiveness, and social equity,” said Reed.
Glens Falls is one of eighteen schools across the state to receive this honor. Officials from the state Education Department and the Middle School Association offer the award, and it all starts with a school visit.
"They spend two full days here, they talk to our board members, our teachers, our students, our parents, everybody they can muster about the school on what we do and how we do it,” said Reed.
Another approach is something known as brain-based learning, which is meeting each student at their own level.
"It requires quite a bit of extensive training from the teachers in order for them to be able to address all the student's needs,” said Reed.
And on top of the traditional lesson plan, there's another word that comes up more and more: safety. Especially since all New York State schools now have to comply with the Dignity for All Students Act, which emphasizes zero tolerance on school bullying.
"This new policy puts some teeth in that and it requires new procedures and systems be in place,” said Reed.
So along with teaching, respect, and teamwork, when it comes to any advice for other schools, it can be boiled down to one word: relationships.
"If I had to make a suggestion about one of the most important things, it's relationship building. And that alone contributes to the climate and culture of the school, of the building," said Reed.
Along with seventeen other districts across the state, the Glens Falls Middle School is being honored at the National Schools to Watch Conference in Washington, D.C.