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The Sherman Way: Sherman Middle School's Key Elements

Sherman staff are proud of Sherman Middle School. We are committed to creating high quality teaching and learning for all our students. The following nine key elements, our Sherman Mission, our school district priorities, and the research-based "Turning Points" design are the foundation for high quality teaching, learning, and relationships at Sherman Middle School.

Element 1:  Democratic Leadership

Highly effective middle schools are governed in a democratic fashion.  At Sherman, all major stakeholders in our school community are afforded the opportunity to lend their voices to decision-making through parent groups, student leadership groups, and staff leadership.

Democratic leadership is evidenced by:

  • Decision making that benefits the good of the whole Sherman community.
  • Sherman students, staff, and families sharing a commitment to academic achievement and engagement for the whole school community.

Element 2:  Safe Learning Environment

At Sherman, we work collaboratively to create a safe, learning environment where all members of the Sherman community behave in a socially responsible manner. This means that all students and staff are safe, teachers can facilitate learning, and students can learn.

Our safe learning environment is evidenced by:

  • An environment where all are treated with respect.
  • An environment where all feel secure to engage in learning.
  • An environment where all are free from physical threat, bullying, harassment, intimidation, and intolerance.

Element 3:  Inclusive Practices Supported by Heterogeneous Grouping

Using inclusive practices makes certain that best educational practices and curriculum opportunities reach all students.

Inclusive practices are evidenced by:

  • High quality relationships among diverse individuals and groups.
  • A school community that mirrors the diverse community in which we live.
  • A focus on Sherman students' individual gifts, talents, and challenges.

Element 4:  Co-Teaching/ Team-Teaching

Co-teaching and team teaching occur when two or more teachers collaboratively plan and implement an instructional program.

Co-teaching/team-teaching is evidenced by:

  • Teachers blending roles in order to meet individual student learning needs.
  • Rich and challenging integrative units and projects.
  • Teachers learning from each other.

Element 5:  Common Planning Time

Teaching teams use common planning time to communicate and work together to plan high quality learning experiences for students. Teachers use common planning time to review and use a wide variety of data to meet the needs of Sherman students.

Common planning time is evidenced by:

  • Teachers consistently using their knowledge of student gifts, talents, and challenges to plan high quality lessons and units.
  • Families and teachers frequently communicating together on behalf of our Sherman students.

Element 6:  Integrative Curriculum through Units and Projects

Through integrative units and projects, Sherman students and staff use knowledge and concepts drawn from the content area standards of language arts, reading, science, math, social studies, and exploratory programming.

Integrative curriculum is evidenced by:

  • Students' ability to think critically, to solve problems, and to develop deeper understandings.
  • Meaningful, real world application of knowledge.
  • Student projects that draw from several content areas and demonstrate the Sherman Habits for Success.

Element 7:  Differentiated Instruction and Assessment

Differentiated instruction and assessment means that teachers work with students to provide them with meaningful work that is matched to their individual needs as a learner.

 Differentiated instruction and assessment is evidenced by:

  • Flexible grouping where students work with different classmates throughout the school year.
  • Multiple paths for learning.
  • Using a variety of assessment tools such as portfolios, projects, exhibitions, tests, and statewide assessments to show what students know and are able to do in preparation for their next level of challenge.

Element 8:  Small classes

Small classes afford Sherman staff the opportunity to get to know each of our students as learners and individuals.

Small classes are evidenced by:

  • 20-25 students per individual class.
  • Teachers who know their students and families well.
  • Students who know their peers and teachers well.
  • Increasing opportunities for students to participate in meaningful work.

Element 9:  Professional Development Based on Staff Needs

Sherman Middle School is sustained by our professional staff who participate in a wide variety of continuous high quality professional development.

Professional development at Sherman is evidenced by:

  • Providing staff opportunities to improve practices that increase student success.
  • Staff led professional development that responds to the needs of the Sherman community.

We use these nine elements to guide us as in becoming a high quality middle school where high quality learning and high quality relationships are the "Sherman Way." Through the commitment of staff, parents, students and the surrounding Sherman community the possibilities for student success are limitless.