Whotford Middle School
It is a sunny spring day, and the Whitford Middle School marching band is hard at work. They are practicing in the school's parking lot, marching through the rows of cars as they practice playing while keeping in step. It's just one of the many things Principal Aaron Persons enjoys about his school. "We are a true comprehensive middle school, with a strong elective program. Kids are able to come here and find where their passions are," says Persons. While the program took a hit a few years back, Persons and his staff are excited to build it back up again.
Whitford also participates in the District's Two-Way Immersion (TWI) program. The students feed into Whitford from Vose Elementary School's TWI program. "What we've found, and what research shows, is that by the time students hit 6th to 8th grades, their English and Spanish skills really blossom. The years of hard work by teachers, students and their families finally bear fruit in middle school," says Persons.
While all Beaverton Middle School's have started implementing the AVID (Advancement via Individual Achievement) program this year, Persons says the focus on ensuring all students are college and career ready was in place well before this year.
Whitford was also a pilot school for standards-based learning. "We have high standards for every student. If students aren't meeting those standards, we know that it's our responsibility to work with families and students to make sure those supports are in place," says Persons.
One of the school's long-standing partnerships is the AASK program with Oregon Episcopal School. The program includes two components: an after-school tutoring program during the school year and a summer camp for students transitioning to and from middle school.
At Whitford, volunteers don't just come from outside of the school, but within the school as well. Sixty students volunteer in a Head Start classroom new to the school this year. Persons speaks of the "Whitford Way," of the supportive environment for teachers, students and families. "There is a feeling that this is a good place to be, that people really look out for each other."