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Middle Level in the Moultonborough School District: A New Vision for the Educational Experience For Grades 5 through 8


, and compassion and moral courage. Moultonborough School District VISION & MISSION Our VISION is to prepare and empower each student to shape his or her future with knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in a changing world. Our MISSION is to provide a caring culture of rigorous and relevant learning experiences. We model and promote ethical ideals of respect, responsibility, integrity, ŠMoultonborough School District 2018

compassion, and moral courage.


Our VISION is to prepare and empower each student to shape his or her future with knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in a changing world. Our MISSION is to provide a caring culture rigorous and relevant learning experiences. We model Middle Level of in the Moultonborough School District: A New Vision Educational Experienceintegrity, for Grades 8 and promote ethical idealsfor ofthe respect, responsibility, and5 through compassion and moral

courage. We succeed when . . . STUDENTS access a District-approved curriculum Table of Contents: aligned to NH State Career and College Readiness Standards, identify and set personal and academic meet their goals through collaboration with educators, parents, MSDgoals, Middleand Level Steering Committee & Its Work……………………….……..1 and community. TEACHERS create authentic learning environments, analyze data to Three Levels, Two Buildings, One Campus ……………………………………....2 adjust programs, and Level continually improve instructional practices to support student Why a Middle Approach?................................................................................3 academic and personal growth.Dedicated ADMINISTRATORS promote our vision and mission, Administrator & Teachers to the Middle Level…………………...….4 provide quality feedback, encourage current bestMiddle practices in education, create Safe and Healthy Environment: Key Element of a Quality Level……….….6

opportunities for Democratically: educators to participate in Sharing school and district decision making Governing Sharing the Leadership; the Vision……....…...8 processes, andand uphold thePartnerships……………………………………………..10 belief that MSD educators and students can achieve. Parent Community SCHOOL BOARD members represent and work with students, school staff, Learning in the Middle Level: Engaging, Meaningful, & Interdisciplinary.………12

administrators, community members and business partners, to create an academic, “Building from What physical, emotional, and social environment where every stakeholder can learn and respect How to read this document: We Have” describes one another. COMMUNITY achievement, has high expectations for student what current best supports About Middle Leveland expectations, practice looksVISION like in 21st Century learning and holds us accountable. Our is to education best

the district.

prepare and empower each student to shape his or her future with knowledge, attitudes, practices and skills necessary to thrive in a changing world. Our MISSION is to provide a caring “Recommendations

for Implementation” culture of rigorous and relevant learning experiences. We model and promote ethical highlights the next of respect, responsibility, integrity, and compassion and ideals courage. We stepsmoral to implement a fully middle level succeed when . . . STUDENTS access a District-approved curriculum aligned to NH

education. State Career and College Readiness Standards, identify and set personal and academic goals, and meet their goals through collaboration with educators, parents, and community. TEACHERS create authentic learning environments, analyze data to adjust programs, and continually improve instructional practices to support student academic and personal In 2017, growth. the Moultonborough ADMINISTRATORS School Board promote madeour the decision vision and to restructure mission, the provide School system intobest 3 levels: elementary, middle, andcreate high school. The Moultonborough quality feedback, encourage current practices in education, opportunities restructuring does not change the grade levels at each building, but does create a new for educators to participate in school and district decision making processes, and educational, rather than physical, space for our middle level students.

uphold the belief that MSD educators and students can achieve. SCHOOL BOARD This document represents the work of the Middle Level Steering Committee to report members and level workeducation with students, staff, administrators, community what represent a quality middle experienceschool encompasses, identifying best practices, and members andrecommendations business partners, toMoultonborough create an academic, and for social making to the Schoolphysical, Board on emotional, the next steps implementation. The recommendations the committee will require further exploration, environment where every stakeholder canoflearn and respect one another. COMMUNITY discussion, and education they are implemented. has high expectations for asstudent achievement, supports 21st Century learning and expectations, and holds us accountable. Our VISION is to prepare and empower each student to shape his or her future with knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to


This document is produced by the Moultonborough School District Middle Level Steering Committee 2017-18.

The MSD Middle Level Steering Committee wishes to thank the contributors to this document: Video/Photograph Contributions: Etienne Vallee, MA media specialist Sara Fogarty, MCS guidance counselor Erika Stokke, MCS teacher Julie Bruneau, MA yearbook and yearbook staff Kirsten Pickel, MA library aide Andrew Coppinger, MA Principal

Time & Video Content: Dawn Law, MCS & MA teacher Brian Hoag, MA teacher Jeff Husmann, MA teacher Erika Stokke, MCS teacher

A big THANK YOU to the middle level students pictured on these pages and those not pictured for being who you are!


MSD Middle Level Steering Committee 2017-18

The Middle Level Steering Committee was commissioned by the MSD School Board in the spring/summer of 2017 to work collaboratively to lay the framework for a new vision of middle level education in the Moultonborough School District. In developing the plan and vision for middle level education, the ML Steering Committee collaborated with Jerry Frew, Executive Director of the New England League of Middle Schools. The ML Steering Committee Members Abigail Antone - Teacher Rebecca Bryant - Parent Justin Chapman - Parent Andy Coppinger –MA Principal Kathleen D'Haene – MCS Principal Dolores Fox – Curriculum Coordinator Jeff Husmann - Teacher Kim Johnson - Parent Matthew Katsenes - Teacher Lauren Lavoie-Sturgeon – MSD School Board Member William Metevier – Teacher Susan Noyes – MSD Superintendent of Schools Derek Patterson – Associate Principal, Middle Level Aimee Quinn - Teacher Linn Ringelstein - Parent Jim Rollins - Guidance Counselor Erika Stokke - Teacher Jon Tolman – MSD School Board Member

Commission of Committee •

Learn more about the work of the Middle Level Steering Committee at the SAU 45 website.

Goals of Committee •

Keep the two schools, Moultonborough Central School and Moultonborough Academy, in current grade configurations. Build a strong K-12 system with strong programming for 3 levels: pre-school through grade 4; grades 5 - 8; grades 912. Recommend to School Board a basic framework and plan for development and implementation of middle level approach.

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Develop the basic framework of a middle school program. Unify and strengthen the middle level experience in both schools. Support our outstanding staff in grades 5-8, dedicated to this age group of students in creating the best programming possible for this age group. Strengthen the middle school student and teacher programming/curriculum/experience.


Three Levels, Two Buildings, One Campus

The Middle Level Steering Committee proposes that the Moultonborough School District community see the district from a new perspective as one campus. There are two buildings on this campus (Moultonborough Central School and Moultonborough Academy). On this campus are 3 educational levels to meet the needs of the 3 distinct developmental levels of students: elementary (Pre K-4), middle (5-8), and high school (912). Students should experience continuity across these levels as they transition from one to the other. Middle School is Not a Building: “Middle school is not about the structure of the building; it is about the structure of the school. It is about the success of the students…A school is either thriving or surviving.” Joseph Eidson, Called to the Middle Brian Hoag, art teacher, on the Middle Level (video)

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Why a Middle Level Approach?

A middle level approach, or Middle Level Philosophy, is an important part of building and providing a comprehensive pre-K through 12 educational experience that adjusts to the developmental stages of students as they grow and mature. Middle Level Philosophy is not a new or transient approach. Many, if not most, school districts create a learning continuum; Pre-K through 12 of 3 levels: elementary, middle, and high schools. Middle Level Philosophy recognizes that adolescents are in a unique stage of human development with physical, social, and cognitive changes unique to their stage. Middle level education is designed to be responsive to adolescent development and : guide students through this time in their lives. Middle level students are not children as in elementary students, nor the almost adults of high school students. They are somewhere “in the middle”; a 5th grader has more in common with an 8th grader than a 1st grader.

“I've never run into a person who yearns for their middle school days.” Jeff Kinney, author Diary of a Wimpy Kid

What does the Middle Level in MSD look like? In the Moultonborough School District, middle level is grades 5 through 8. Two grades (fifth and sixth) are housed at the Central School (MSC) and two grades (seventh and eighth) are housed at the Academy (MA). There are different grade span configurations for middle levels used across the state of New Hampshire and across the country, but all middle level grade span configurations (5-8, 6-8, 7-9, 6-9, 7-8) are designed based on the concept: What is the best structure to the middle level that allows the district and community resources to be responsive to the needs of adolescents? The grade 5-8 span best fits the resources of this district to provide a quality educational experience Resources for Developing & Implementing a Middle Level Philosophy • •

Called to the Middle, by Joseph Eidson NELMS (New England League of Middle Schools) AMLE (Association for Middle Level Education) Turning Points 2000: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century by Anthony Jackson & Gayle Davis

“Middle school is without question the most difficult age group to educate. They are not high school students, and they are no longer elementary students. They are middle school students, and they are experiencing difficulty in their lives on many fronts: physically, emotionally, socially, and academically…. One thing is certain: every child deserves the opportunity to attend a middle school with teachers who love their job, classrooms that are engaging and geared for their age group, and a school that has a welcoming environment for them to grow and mature into the young adults they will soon be.” Joseph Eidson, Called to the Middle 3


Administrator and Teachers Dedicated to the Middle Level Not all teachers can be good middle level teachers. Like the students that they teach, middle level teachers are unique. They have a love and appreciation for this age

group with all of its difficulties. It is important for middle level students to have teachers who accept and value them as adolescents. It is also important for a school system committed to meeting the dynamic needs of middle level students, to dedicate teachers and leaders to the middle level to foster the students and Middle Level Philosophy. The students deserve to have teachers knowledgeable of, attuned to, and responsive to their needs, as well as leadership dedicated to overseeing and promoting a quality middle level experience. The Moultonborough School District Middle Level Steering Committee unanimously recommended to the School Board that the middle level have core teachers (science, social studies, literacy, mathematics) dedicated to teaching in the middle level and an administrator dedicated to providing leadership for middle level educational experience. What is Teaming?

And Why is it Important?

Teams of teachers and students are a vital part of developing a middle level learning community. A team is a group of two or more teachers and the students that they instruct. Together, team teachers instruct the same students in the core academic subjects.

The Shift : “This year is the first time my identity as a middle level team member has been viewed by the district as more important than my identity as a member of a department.” Jeff Husmann, 7th/8th Grade English teacher

Teaming allows teachers to work together collaboratively to provide a supportive academic environment for students. Teaming creates opportunities for: • Interdisciplinary instruction • Coordination of intervention and response to student academic and social/emotional needs • Shared knowledge of students

Jeff Husmann, teacher, on the middle level (video)

“Teaming is a best practice for middle school. Middle Schools that thrive make teaming priority.” Joseph Eidson, Called to the Middle

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Erika Stokke, teacher, on the middle level student (video)


Building from What We Have

5th Grade Team & 6th Grade Team

7th & 8th Grade Team

Recommendations for Implementation As Moultonborough School District commits to middle level education, it also commits to teaming teachers at the middle level. • Middle level core academic teachers (literacy, math, science, social studies) would only teach at the middle level. • Modeling the current 7th & 8th grade teaming structure, 5th and 6th grade teachers may form one interdisciplinary team, teaching all 5th and 6th grade students. The middle level needs an administrator dedicated to the middle level. This person would have a knowledge, understanding and passion for middle level education and middle level students. District administrators will be looking at scheduling. It is important to have a schedule that allows the teams to meet individually and together on a regular basis. Faculty meetings will adapt to include all middle level teachers, including specials teachers at MCS and exploratory teachers at MA. 5


Safe and Healthy Environment: Key Element of a Quality Middle Level In order to learn, students must feel safe. Feeling safe goes beyond physical safety to emotional safety as well. Students must feel comfortable to be themselves and share their work and ideas with peers and adults. As anyone who knows or remembers honestly their adolescent years, these years are full of self-doubt and the ironic struggle to develop and express individuality while desperately seeking conformity and peer-approval. Middle level students need to learn how to engage with others by demonstrating mutual respect. Middle level students, more than other age groups, need special guidance in this area of development. Research tells us that instances of bullying slowly rise through elementary years, peak in middle level, and decrease rapidly through high school years. It is important for schools and teachers to be responsive to this challenge of adolescents and develop and model positive ways to interact with others. Quality middle schools achieve safe environments by the use of procedures, principles, and character education. “Structured Freedom” is the goal; schools, classrooms, and teams use procedures to structure the environment for students. These procedures are based on principles that are shared with students. For example, some procedures arise from the principle to keep student safe, while others are based on the principle of creating a learning environment for all students. Within the safe structured environment, the middle level student has the opportunity to make decisions. Adolescence is the transition period when we begin to move our locus of control from external to internal. "It’s not a light switch; more like turning a dimmer switch.”

“Students should know and feel that we are working with them in their endeavors to grow up and become productive members of society.” Joseph Eidson, Called to the Middle

Parent of a teenager on developing responsibility in adolescents

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Recommendations for Implementation

Building from What We Have

BASE CAMP The Base Camp program is an advisory program to forge stronger relationships between caring adults and students in the hopes of fostering greater school spirit and academic success through small group interactions of 7th and 8th grade students and their advisors. STUDENT-LED PARENT CONFERENCES Student-Led conferences are intended to help students take ownership of their learning and strides to do their best in school. Student-Led make Parent conferences are student led, meaning the students not only attend the meeting, but also direct the meeting. The student’s Base Camp advisor attends the meeting along with his/her teachers. other PROJECT SAFEGUARD Project Safeguard is a “family based” prevention education program for 8th graders. It addresses substance abuse and health related issues that affect quality of life. Parents have an opportunity to spend a day with their child in an environment designed to promote better communication skills and healthy lifestyles. NATURE’S CLASSROOM AT SARGENT CAMP Nature’s Classroom is a multi-day field trip for Grade 6 students. Students experience an outdoor classroom uniting academic study with character education. MERROWVISTA FIELD TRIP Begun in Fall of 2017, Grades 7 & 8 students build on the Base Camp experience and form a sense of team through the programs at local Merrowvista Youth Camp programming.

Developing a middle level program includes ensuring a continuity of programming across the two schools, such as: • Advisory Programming at all grades • Student-Led conferences at Grades 5 and 6 • Developmentally appropriate rights and responsibilities for all students Grades 5 – 8, including equitable rules for all ML athletes • Health and anti-bullying curricula • Peer Mediation program

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Governing Democratically: Sharing the Leadership; Sharing the Vision

“It takes a village” is uniquely true for middle level students. The role and relationship of the parent changes in adolescence. Adolescents also start to look to their peers and other important adults in their lives (such as educators) for how to interpret and find their way in the world. Middle level education needs to involve all stakeholders in leadership opportunities to provide for an environment where students can practice their newly developing decision-making skills and voice safely. “An effective Middle Level uses all of the stakeholders to create an environment using best practices.” Joseph Eidson, Called to the Middle

the Vision Structures & Ways to Share Teams of Teachers – share the decision-making and planning responsibilities for students on their teams Students- voices in classroom, Student Council and through Advisory programs Parents – Middle Level Parent Advisory Council (PAC) All stakeholders make decisions based on:

What is in the best interest of all students? And every student?

The Middle Level Leader: Communicates and demonstrates a respect for all constituents: teachers, students, and parents, while always keeping the best interest and safety of students as the operating goal. Has an understanding and calling to work with middle level students.

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For Students Middle Level Student Council (Gr. 7 & 8) Base Camp (Gr. 7 & 8) Peer Leaders (Grades 5-6)

For Parents Mini-PAC at MCS PAC at MA

For Teachers PLCs at MCS (Gr 5 & 6) MCS School Leadership Team (Gr 5 & 6) ML Team Meetings (Gr 7 & 8)

Recommendations for Implementation For Students • ML Student Council grades 5 - 8 • Advisory program grades 5- 8 • Opportunity for 5th & 6th grade students to participate in ML student leadership opportunities such as NELMS Student Leadership Conference • Developing a school culture where older students see themselves with the responsibility to be peer leaders to younger ML students • PSTA – Parent/Student/Teacher Association

For Parents • Creating a Middle Level Parent Advisory Council (Mid- PAC) • PSTA – Parent/Student/Teacher Association For Teachers •

Sharing responsibilities and leadership for team meetings and team decisions

Representation on MA and MCS School Leadership Teams

Roles for Exploratory & Specials teachers in Middle Level decisions Sharing responsibilities and leadership for Middle Level meetings and Middle Level decisions PSTA – Parent/Student/Teacher Association

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Parent and Community Partnerships

“To completely reach every student and have an effective classroom approach, you must involve the middle school parent.” Joseph Eidson, Called to the Middle

Parent – Teacher Partnership In the middle level, it is important to build a trusting relationship with parents and guardians of all students. Parents provide both insight into the individual student and support for classroom efforts at home.

Community Partnerships Community relationships provide opportunities for middle level students to connect with the world beyond school, family and friends. Students can learn about this world when community members come into the school. But also middle level students value the opportunities to make real contributions to their communities.

“No parent ever feels they’re doing well with teenagers…I think that’s kind of the point of them.” JoJo Moyes, After You

Teachers at the middle level can be an important resource for parents of adolescents. Middle level teachers understand adolescence and experience its ups, downs, and sideways every day with joy. For the parents of adolescents, the sudden shifts and turns of adolescence are troublesome, surprising and often stressful. They can use the teacher as a resource to help navigate these changing waters. Middle level students often seek out advice from teachers before parents or test parental advice by asking teachers the same questions.

Communication Useful Site for Parents of Adolescents

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Key!

Parent Resources 10


Recommendations for Implementation

Parent – Teacher /School Partnerships

Parent – Teacher /School Partnerships

Communication: • Email, Schoology • Powerschool • Website • Parent Newsletters (MCS, iPAWS) • PTA

Communication: • Create middle level presence on district website • Educate middle level parents on ML events that occur at 5-8 grade levels, not just their students’ grade level

Events for Parents: • Project Safeguard • Student-Led Parent Conferences (Gr. 7 & 8) • Parent information nights on timely topics (Gr. 9-12) • MiniPAC & PAC • PTA

Events for Parents: • Project Safeguard (more information to all middle level grade parents) • Student-Led Parent Conferences • Offer parent information nights on topics appropriate for middle level (similar to offerings for high school students & their parents) • Parent advisory council for middle level parents • Parent/Student/Teacher Association (PSTA)

Community Partnerships § Gr. 5 & 6 in Winterim § Work with local organizations & businesses to provide support for potential middle level educational activities such as: o Career information o College information 11


Learning in the Middle Level: Engaging, Meaningful, & Interdisciplinary

Interdisciplinary One of the hallmarks of middle level education is the interdisciplinary connections between courses. Middle level education is a transition for students from integrated learning experiences with teachers who are instructional experts (elementary level) to learning experiences that are discipline specific with teachers who are content experts (secondary level). Middle level curriculum blends these two worlds into a curriculum that encourages interdisciplinary connections.

Challenging & Rigorous Developmentally, students at the middle level demonstrate a wide-range of intellectual and academic skills. Students at this level are moving from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. High expectations need to be held for and communicated to all students, and pathways to success need to be personalized for students. Learning by Doing For middle level students, learning in the classroom needs to have meaning to them. Performance tasks and project-based learning connect the learning to the world beyond academics or to the student’s own personal world. These types of activities and assessments engage students in learning.

Interests & Passions All middle level students need to see themselves as experts at something. Middle level schools and curricula provide opportunities for students to explore interests and develop their talents. This exploration and opportunity to develop expertise occurs in the core academic classes (literacy, mathematics, science, social studies), in Exploratory/ Specials courses, in embedded school activities such as Winterim, Genius Hour, Google 20% Time, and through co-curricular activities.

Character Education Character education takes on a special meaning at the middle level as students develop from a state of following rules to a state of questioning rules and exerting their voice and opinions on the world. A thriving middle level includes character education which includes qualities such as respect responsibility, integrity, compassion, and moral courage. Teachers use a common language with students and hold students to the standard of mutual respect shown to all.

A thriving Middle Level challenges all students and encourages each child to push their limits of knowledge. Classrooms should be set up to meet the needs of every learner.� Joseph Eidson, Called to the Middle

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Continuing the Good Work: Creating Continuity

MSD has made great strides to unify curricula, especially at grades K-6 in literacy and mathematics. The MSD Steering Committee & School Board are committed to continuing the process of creating a cohesive and progressive learning experience within and across grades levels. Learning at the middle level is a part of the continuum of learning, not a separate silo of study. Exploratory Experience (Gr. 7 & 8) • World Languages (French/Spanish/Latin) • Physical education • Health • Music • Art • Family & Consumer Sciences • Technology Education • Embedded Computer/Technology Specials Experience (Gr 5 & 6) • World Languages (French/Spanish) • Physical education • Health • Music • Art • Embedded Computer/Technology • STEM • Guidance

Creating Curricula of Continuity: • Lucy Calkin’s Reading K- 6 • Lucy Calkin’s Writing K – 8 • Eureka Math Grades K- 8 • Language Arts & Social Studies Interdisciplinary units (Gr. 7 & 8) Exploring & Developing Interests & Talents • Band (Gr 5- 8) • Chorus (Gr 5 & 6, Gr 7 & 8) • Middle Level sports teams (Gr 6-8) • Winterim (Gr. 7 & 8) Opportunities to Achieve • Spelling Bee • Geography Bee (Gr. 7 & 8) • Mathematics (HS credit available) • World Languages (HS credit available)

Possibilities for the Future Curriculum work in progress & planned: • Literacy & Mathematics – continue to support our current efforts • Implement Next Generation Science Standards curriculum K-12 • Adopt social studies curriculum K-12 • Work on a cohesive & progressive music & arts programs/curricula • Implement competency-based learning Gr. 5- 8 13

Could we? Should we? • Review Exploratory/Specials for Gr 5-8 to evaluate and provide for maximum opportunities? • Integrate Genius Hour or 20% Time? • Develop Winterim as a Gr 5- 8 event? • Develop Band & Chorus as Middle Level rather than building-based? • Expand S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M.?


ur VISION is to prepare and empower each student to shape his or her future with owledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in a changing world. Our MISSION is

provide a caring culture of rigorous and relevant learning experiences. We model and omote ethical ideals of respect, responsibility, integrity, and compassion and moral ourage. We succeed when . . . STUDENTS access a District-approved curriculum aligned NH State Career and College Readiness Standards, identify and set personal and academic als, and meet their goals through collaboration with educators, parents, and community. EACHERS create authentic learning environments, analyze data to adjust programs, and ontinually improve instructional practices to support student academic and personal owth. ADMINISTRATORS promote our vision and mission, provide quality feedback, courage current best practices in education, create opportunities for educators to rticipate in school and district decision making processes, and uphold the belief that SD educators and students can achieve. SCHOOL BOARD members represent and work th students, school staff, administrators, community members and business partners, an academic, physical, emotional, and social environment where every stakeholder create n learn and respect one another. COMMUNITY has high expectations for student hievement, supports 21st Century learning and expectations, and holds us accountable. ur VISION is to prepare and empower each student to shape his or her future with owledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in a changing world. Our MISSION is provide a caring culture of rigorous and relevant learning experiences. We model and omote ethical ideals of respect, responsibility, integrity, and compassion and moral ourage. We succeed when . . . STUDENTS access a District-approved curriculum aligned NH State Career and College Readiness Standards, identify and set personal and academic als, and meet their goals through collaboration with educators, parents, and community. EACHERS create authentic learning environments, analyze data to adjust programs, and ontinually improve instructional practices to support student academic and personal owth. ADMINISTRATORS promote our vision and mission, provide quality feedback, courage current best practices in education, create opportunities for educators to rticipate in school and district decision making processes, and uphold the belief that SD educators and students can achieve. SCHOOL BOARD members represent and work th students, school staff, administrators, community members and business partners, an academic, physical, emotional, and social environment where every stakeholder create n learn and respect one another. COMMUNITY has high expectations for student hievement, supports 21st Century learning and expectations, and holds us accountable.

ur VISION is to prepare and empower each student to shape his or her future with owledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in a changing world. Our MISSION is provide a caring culture of rigorous and 14 relevant learning experiences. We model and

MSD Middle Level  
MSD Middle Level