At GW we expect our students to learn the important skills that will serve them and enable them to be successful during the course of their lives; to learn to be contributing, responsible citizens; to take responsibility for their own learning; and to understand and be successful at knowing how to learn.
We will know they are learning through their success on State and national assessments, through staff anecdotal data, through performance-based learning opportunities, and through articulation/communication with parents and other adults in the community.
If we discover our students are not learning, we will provide appropriate support services, give differentiated/repeated instruction as needed, involve parents, and vow to keep trying different strategies until success is achieved.
We will engage students in their own learning by offering choices, making the learning relevant/authentic, integrating disciplines, providing opportunities for students to work collaboratively, having students self-assess and engage in goal-setting, and asking for continuous input/feedback from students.
Upon entering George Washington Middle School, one is immersed into a welcoming, safe learning environment. The walls are festooned with examples of benchmark student work, displays of various types relating to school activities, and school honors and awards. There are clear signs and directions for visitors, who check in at the main office and are greeted pleasantly and readily assisted as needed by the office staff.
When entering classrooms at George Washington, you see that students take responsibility for their behavior, both academically and socially. Students are enthusiastic learners. They are prepared for class, they participate in lessons, and they self advocate. They accept the consequences for their actions and learn from their mistakes. Students show respect for their teachers, administrators, and peers by being good listeners, thinking deeply about the content being covered, following instructions, and treating others as they would like to be treated. Students have no tolerance for bullying or disrespect.
At George Washington, teachers care deeply about their students and are dedicated to providing them with the best instruction possible. They show this by keeping up with current research and trends in education, participating actively in team and faculty meetings, attending professional development sessions, working with students to hone instructional practices that work, implementing appropriate differentiated learning activities, honoring students’ individuality, and acting as critical friends to colleagues. Instructional spaces are well maintained and fully equipped with the latest resources and technology to support and enhance learning. Additionally, teachers and students feel inspired and motivated. There is a sense of excitement and appreciation in collaborating to acquire new knowledge and understanding while reaching for new levels of achievement.
The staff at George Washington encourages each other to be the part of a solution to any problem that may arise. Making decisions that are aligned with the school’s vision is a priority. Consistent, timely communication among faculty, parents, students and administrators is highly valued. When appropriate, an effort is made to communicate personally rather than through email. Responsibility is shared by all stakeholders, and active problem solving is the norm. The school functions as a team, focusing on results and understanding that, though each stakeholder may have a different job to do, they are all united in the educational process.
A strong partnership exists between home and school, creating a safe environment that allows students to reach their full potential. Communication among parents, teachers, support staff, guidance counselors, and administrators with the goal of supporting students is evident. Parents are eager to volunteer their time to the school and community by attending meetings, joining committees for school functions, fundraising, and providing programs to support and enrich classroom instruction and school initiatives.
Most importantly, members of the George Washington learning community consider themselves to be lifelong learners and strive to be the best they can be: the best student; the best teacher; the best guidance counselor; the best support professional; the best administrator; and the best parent. Although we may not always agree, we always respect one another in our quest to do our very best for our young people.
GW: Dreams are born; leaders are made; kindness is valued.
*This document is intended to be a draft, and will constantly be revised as we continue to learn and grow at George Washington Middle School.