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Fri, Dec. 06

Glassford Hill works its way up the point scale

Glassford Hill Middle School raised its score by 11 points, not quite enough to earn a "B" grade, but within three points. Bradshaw Mountain Middle School also earned the same score, 117 points this year.

Principal Terri Matteson said the schools' iChoose Success and the Response to Intervention programs offer enrichment for students to close the gaps in skill levels and ultimately perform better on tests, and to challenge those students already working at the meets and exceeds standards level on the AIMS to continue learning.

"Students scoring at the approaches and falls far behind levels (on the AIMS) picked up between 46 and 72 scale points," Matteson said. "We look at their scale points and individual needs and then we design interventions to close those gaps."

Middle schools deal with something called an "eighth-grade dip," she said. "Eighth-graders often lack motivation because they don't see a value on it. We are trying to sustain them with programs we've built."

New this year is something called Student Advisory Groups where every staff member on the GHMS campus is assigned about 15 students that will belong to the staff member all year long, Matteson said. They will meet together seven times during the school year to look at grades, set goals and meet with parents.

Also, the students will look at their own assessment data to check test results, plan for what they can do to earn better grades, and to set goals for what they want to achieve by the end of the year. They will "own" their learning and feel like they have control over what's happening to them, Matteson said.

Glassford Hill also doubled the number of students passing the writing and science portions of the AIMS, both of which are not counted in determining a school's letter grade.

Students who achieved more than a year's growth or who exceeded the standards on the AIMS during the 2012-2013 school year are celebrating next week with a field trip to the Arizona Science Center.

"We provide a well-rounded education and hit all of their talents," Matteson said. "We are sending a stronger kid to the high school. It will make a huge impact on the high school."

Bradshaw Mountain Middle School, under the new principalship of Jessica Bennett after the retirement of Brian Buchholtz in May, works closely with Matteson and Glassford Hill, and also with the high school.

"She's doing a great job," Matteson said of Bennett. "We will keep the momentum going."

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