Northridge Middle School in Indiana is a newly designated 2015 Schools to Watch® school. Below is an article from theelkharttruth.com that features Northridge Middle School.
Classroom Chronicles: Northridge Middle School touts ‘Schools to Watch’ designation
Middlebury Community Schools’ Northridge Middle School was the 21st school education reporter Michelle Sokol visited on her Classroom Chronicles tour
By:Michelle Sokol | Posted on Jan. 12, 2016 at 5:32 p.m.
NORTHRIDGE MIDDLE SCHOOL
56691 Northridge Drive
Enrollment: 1,086 students
Accountability grade: A
Percent of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch: 32.1 percent
The application process for the designation was not a quick and easy one. The school submitted a comprehensive application, which a committee reviewed. A site team then visited Middlebury to see the school and talk with staff, students and community members. But it was worth it, Principal Robby Goodman said. “The designation awards our academic success, but I also think it says that we do a really good job at looking at the whole child,” he said. “It’s not just the math and language arts, but it’s the extracurriculars and the social development.”
To earn the official designation, schools must be: academically excellent, developmentally responsive and socially equitable. Goodman and a team of teachers and other administrators highlighted several ways Northridge Middle School fits those categories.
Several years ago, Northridge switched to something called “instructional teaming.” That means that instead of one student being assigned to one teacher, groups of students are assigned to groups of teachers. Teachers say the teaming — and the built-in collaboration time — helps the staff get to know their students better to prevent any from slipping through the cracks. Guidance counselors and special education teachers are also assigned to teams to provide additional support.
Other practices that make the school “academically excellent” include:
Students are offered demanding elective offerings that include: Spanish, Mandarin, technology, health, CPR/First Aid, physical education, music exploration and more.
Data is collected annually through anti-bullying, drug/alcohol and community surveys to ensure the school is meeting the needs of its students. Daily announcements include character education to reinforce positive attitudes. Three counselors and a school resource officer provide assistance to struggling students and families in times of need.
Students are very active through school-designed service projects for organizations including Feed the Children, Middlebury Food Pantry and Pennies for Peace. The school organizes an annual Ability Day to help general education students learn more about students with disabilities and how to understand their needs. Students with any disability can participate in all school activities.