Floyd Middle School students worked hard to achieve Adequate Yearly Progess this year, and earned a well-deserved celebration. The 818 students at Floyd showed gains in English Language Arts and Math across all grades, and only a minor downturn in scores for Reading. Struggling toward AYP in prior years, Floyd is finding ways to improve student achievement against sizeable odds…with a transiency rate of 38% and approximately 80% of the students receiving Free and Reduced Lunch assistance, Floyd was able to utilize some creative strategies to help students reach their goals.
Math was the area of focus during the 2008-2009 school year at Floyd. With a 5% increase in the number of students meeting and exceeding expectations, Floyd met AYP through intense focus on this content area. Similarly, the percentage of students achieving in English Language Arts was also up 5% for the year. Although Reading was down for the school overall, the number of 7th and 8th grade students meeting / exceeding expectations was up from 2008.
Floyd also saw significant gains in the percentage of students exceeding standards in Reading and English Language Arts. In Reading, the percentage increased from 14% in 2006, to 18% in 2007, 21% in 2008, and 26% in 2009. Percentages for ELA were 4, 9, 10 and 21% for those respective years.
How did they do it?
Principal Teresa Hargrett credits her team for following suggestions made during a GAPSS review the year before. Armed with some specific priorities and taking some new approaches, a major emphasis on math helped turn things around at Floyd Middle School. Those new approaches included a Title I Math coach to guide instruction and a week-long “Math Blitz” that enabled students to hone their math skills. Data teams at Floyd continued the work of collaborative planning among the staff and close scrutiny of student performance data.
But it wasn’t just about math. Floyd also placed heavy emphasis on Reading and Language Arts. For instance, resources like Read 180 and Scholastic Reading Inventory were beneficial to students as they worked to improve their skills. Along with a 25 book reading goal and reading connections, strategies targeted students in areas that needed improvement.
Benchmark tests were also beneficial guiding instructional decisions so that staff to collaborate on ways to address deficiencies. Data teams were able to focus on specific standards that needed attention and these became focus points for activities such as the Math Blitz week, in which a dozen coaches teamed with school staff to teach math during the connections period.
But the learning didn’t end with the last bell…Floyd invited parents to be involved in the action and gave them hands-on opportunities at Parents Night, where they interacted with their students as they rotated through stations to experience the curriculum firsthand.