Dear Whitford families,
It’s hard to believe that just eight short weeks ago we said goodbye for the summer. Although this has felt like the shortest summer of all time, I hope everyone had an opportunity to get in some rest, fun, and time with friends and family. Over the summer, my administrative team poured over student, parent, and teacher data to make priorities to improve the education of each child who attends Whitford Middle School.
Middle School attendance across the state, the district, and at Whitford is hovering around 80%. This means that 20% of our students are missing 10 or more school days each year. During pre-service week, we worked to identify strategies to improve student’s attendance. We will do our part, but I need each parent/guardian to ensure that their student is attending school regularly. It takes a village with attendance. Last year Whitford was at 81%. I would like to raise this percentage to 84%.
Several teachers and I were able to attend Teacher’s College at Columbia University this summer to learn from the very best reading and writing instructors. We are now entering our fourth year of writer’s workshop and several Humanities teachers are piloting the reader’s workshop. Expect your student to read a high volume of pages and books early in the year and progress to more challenging text as the year progresses. Writing will continue to be a high priority in all three grade levels. Whitford showed the second most growth per student in the area of English/Language Arts (ELA) on the Smarter Balance testing as compared to the other seven comprehensive middle schools. My hope continues that students who attend Whitford grow as readers and writers.
Last year Whitford adopted a new math curriculum. This is aligned with the best practices and is taught differently than many of us were taught. All of our students are on a trajectory to take AGS I (Algebra, Geometry and Statistics) in 8th grade. We are pushing rigor in math at all levels. Our math growth last year on the Smarter Balance testing was the third best compared to all other comprehensive middle schools in the district. We are cautiously optimistic about our achievement this year in math.
We take the safety of student extremely seriously. Whitford was able to add an additional counselor to our staff in order to share the workload and assist more students. We also took all students on a tour of the school where staff members explained the appropriate behavior for each area. I poured over several surveys this summer. Here are some highlights: 88% of our 7th graders feel accepted at Whitford, 86% of 7th graders feel there is at least one adult who really cares about them, and 95.2% of our staff feel Whitford is a great place to work. If your child feels threatened or bullied, they can talk to a counselor, administrator, and make sure to fill out a bully report form. We follow up on every bully report form that is reported to us. Finally, I told all students who came to my station during the tour, “If you see something, say something.” This will keep our school and community safe.
Proud to be a Coachmen!