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Best Practices from our Schools to Watch Schools

Eastern York Middle School
Flexible grouping is a teaching strategy that involves organizing students into different groups based on their abilities, interests, or learning styles. This approach is often considered a best educational practice in middle schools for several reasons:

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Avonworth Middle School Connections Program

At the heart of our teaching philosophy at Avonworth is the ability to connect with and do best by kids. We had a nice advisory program, but we wanted to revamp it to ensure we were intentionally meeting the needs of our students. During the summer of 2019, we launched a summer institute with our staff and transformed our advisory program into Connections. We transitioned from a teacher-led advisory class that met with an alternate schedule at the end of the second semester, to a weekly student-led Connections class that gave students choice and voice to connect with staff outside of academic classes.

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Dorseyville Middle School Classroom Engagement Strategies

At Dorseyville Middle School in the Fox Chapel Area School District, a concerted effort is underway to invigorate classroom engagement through various proven strategies. Teachers at the school have embraced various techniques designed to stimulate active participation and foster deeper understanding among their students.

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Central Valley Middle School - BRAVE WARRIOR Program
One of the main components of the Central Valley Middle School PBIS program is our BRAVE Warrior leadership group. Our BRAVE Warrior program begins with an application process in which students apply to be an 8th-grade leader, role model, and mentor to our incoming 6th-grade students. The BRAVE Warriors display a variety of the characteristics of an exemplary student which include leadership, kindness, empathy, and they are helpful to teachers and peers. They must also be in good academic standing and maintain good attendance. BRAVE Warriors must also be committed to our school’s BRAVE expectations which are Be Safe, Responsible, Achievement, Values, and Engagement.

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Titusville Middle School Catalyst Program
Titusville Middle School is focused on the MLE core practice of providing Curriculum that is relevant, challenging, integrative, and exploratory. The advisory program at our school, renamed Catalyst in the summer of 2022, is the engine which drives most other initiatives. Our team of teachers is committed to the importance of advisory at the middle level and uses multiple tools including SEL education, team building, and integrated curricular approaches to foster a climate of care and support for all. In the summer of 2023 a group of teachers expanded the reach of our Catalyst program as they created grade-level essential questions that serve to drive educational programing and student learning. The focuses that our school now has at each grade level are:

  • 6th Grade - What is your role?
  • 7th Grade - What is your journey?
  • 8th Grade – What is your why?

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Beaver Area Middle School - Up & Moving with ELA
As teachers, we are up against sometimes seemingly insurmountable odds: capture short attention spans, prepare students for standardized tests, manage classroom behaviors, ensure all minds are engaged by appealing to a variety of modalities, and the list goes on and on. At Beaver Area Middle School, we have been focusing on adding a certain element to as many lessons and classroom routines as possible – movement.

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