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Purpose

Norton Middle School Purpose

As an active member of the National Middle School Association and the Southeast Middle School Alliance, the Norton Middle School's mission is directly aligned with the eight principles for middle school education as outlined in "Turning Points", a national study on the education of early adolescents:

School should be a place where close, trusting relationships with adults and peers create a climate for personal growth and intellectual development. This is accomplished by:

Creating smaller learning environments or clusters

Forming teachers and students into teams

Assigning an adult advisor to each student

Critical Thinking

Every student in the middle grades should learn to think critically through mastery of an appropriate body of knowledge, lead a healthy life, behave ethically, and assume the responsibilities of citizenship in a pluralistic society. This is accomplished by:

  • Teaching young adolescents to think critically
  • Teaching young adolescents to develop healthful lifestyles
  • Teaching young adolescents to be active citizens
  • Integrating subject matter across disciplines
  • Teaching students to learn successfully

The Opportunity to Succeed

All young adolescents should have the opportunity to succeed in every aspect of the middle grade program, regardless of previous achievement or the pace at which they learn. This is accomplished by:

  • Employing heterogeneous grouping
  • Using flexible and block scheduling to maximize learning
  • Expanding opportunities for learning

Decision Making

Decisions concerning the experiences of middle grade students should be made by the adults who know them best. This is accomplished by:

  • Establishing building governance structures where decision-making is shared
  • Designating leaders for the teaching process.

Expert Teachers

Teachers in middle grade schools should be selected and specially educated to teach young adolescents. This is accomplished by:

  • Developing expert teachers of young adolescents

Healthy Living

Young adolescents must be healthy in order to learn. This is accomplished by:

  • Ensuring student access to health services
  • Establishing the school as a health-promoting environment

Family Ties

Families and middle grade schools must be allied through trust and respect if young adolescents are to succeed in school. This is accomplished by:

  • Offering parents meaningful roles in school governance
  • Keeping parents informed and involved
  • Offering families opportunities to support the learning process at home and at school

Community Ties

School and community organizations should share responsibility for each middle grade student's success. This is accomplished by:

  • Placing students in youth services
  • Ensuring student access to health and social services
  • Community organizations supporting the middle grade education program
  • Community organizations augmenting resources for teachers and students
  • Expanding career guidance for students
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