Skip Navigation
E-Learning
Main Content

e-Learning for Educators
Course Information



The Developmentally Responsive Middle School for Active WV Educators
 
Course Description
    

Course participants will examine the growth and restructuring of middle schools as described in the This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents 2003Turning Points 2000 and The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform publications. Throughout the course there will be a targeted focus upon developmentally responsive middle grades characteristics, practices and principles that address the needs of young adolescents. During the course participants will identify the stages of team development, evaluate research findings that address common planning time and effective interdisciplinary teaming, review recommendations regarding interdisciplinary teaming and common team planning and then examine the practices at the school where they teach or work. Participants will identify and compare effective flexible scheduling options, review recommendations regarding scheduling options, examine the schedule at the school where they teach or work and then apply recommendations regarding scheduling options to their school and team's current schedule. This course will conclude with content specific to middle level leadership and school culture through the review of teacher collaboration models, the identification of characteristics specific to effective middle school leadership programs that are essential to improved instruction and learning and responsive to middle level students, teachers and administrators.

 
Course Syllabus
    

By the end of this course, participants will:

  • identify key leaders, specific publications/research and important events that have taken place since the inception of the middle school movement,
  • review, analyze and apply recommendations from the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) document, This We Believe-Keys to Educating Young Adolescents to the classroom and school setting,
  • compare developmentally responsive middle grades characteristics, practices and principles that address the needs of young adolescents,
  • identify developmental domains of the young adolescents with whom they teach and/or work,
  • evaluate the impact that research and understanding of young adolescent developmental domains have had upon the middle school movement,
  • apply knowledge of the developmental domains of young adolescents to the 16 characteristics as outlined in the This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents 2003 Position Paper of the National Middle School Association,
  • identify characteristics of middle schools and understand how they differ from junior high schools,
  • compare and contrast the characteristics of middle schools through the evaluation of middle level studies including: Breaking Ranks in the Middle, This We Believe-Keys to Educating Young Adolescents and Turning Points 2000,
  • determine the expectations for West Virginia middle schools as set forth in West Virginia Policy 2510,
  • evaluate the current status of middle level practices in the school where they are employed,
  • propose strategies for improving middle level practices in their school to better meet the developmental needs of adolescents,
  • identify the stages of team development and what makes interdisciplinary teams effective and developmentally responsive to the needs of middle level students, 
  • evaluate research findings that address common planning time and effective interdisciplinary teaming,
  • review recommendations regarding interdisciplinary teaming and common team planning and examine the practices at the school where they teach or work,
  • apply recommendations regarding interdisciplinary teaming and common team planning to their school's current team planning organization and interdisciplinary teaming configurations,
  • identify effective flexible scheduling options that are developmentally responsive to the needs of middle level students,
  • compare and contrast flexible middle level scheduling options,
  • review recommendations regarding scheduling options to the school where they teach or work, 
  • apply recommendations regarding scheduling options to their school and team's current schedule,
  • review models for teacher collaboration,
  • identify characteristics of effective middle school leadership programs that are essential to improved instruction and learning, and
  • initiate middle level school leadership and school culture surveys.
Course Organization
This course includes several different activity components, all of which are described below. During each session, you will participate in a unique collection of these activity components, depending on the particular focus of that session.

Read
When you see this icon you will be reading relevant articles, resources, and instructional materials that will help inform your online course development process.

Activities
When you see this icon you will be completing activity-based curriculum and inputting various components of your course content into course project.

Discuss
When you see this icon you will be using the online discussion board to share ideas, resources, and thoughtful conversation with your fellow course participants and facilitator.
Prerequisites
This professional development course is designed for currently employed middle grades teachers, counselors and administrators. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers. Although not a requirement, high speed Internet access definitely enhances the online experience. Participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet and navigating through computer files. 

Microsoft Word is required in order to read, edit and/or create documents for this course. If you have a WVDE k12.wv.us email account, you have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. as part of Microsoft Office 365. You should see your school/county technology support person if you need help in using/installing Word and/or other Office applications. 

If you do not have a k12.wv.us email account, Word must be acquired through other means.  One way to get access to Word Online at no charge is by Creating a Microsoft Outlook Account with Access to FREE Office Online

Format and Requirements
This workshop is divided into an Orientation Session and six one-week sessions which each include readings, activities, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time necessary to complete each session is estimated to be 6.5 to 7 hours.

The outline for the workshop is as follows:
Session One Middle School Past and Present
Session Two The Young Adolescent
Session Three Middle Grades Organization and Characteristics
Session Four Middle Grades Teaming and Planning
Session Five Middle Grades Scheduling
Session Six Middle Grades School Culture and Leadership
Session One: Session One: Middle School Past and Present

The focus of this session is the identification of key leaders, specific publications/research and important events that have taken place since the inception of the middle school movement in response to what is developmentally appropriate for middle level students. Several videos produced for the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) have been scattered throughout the content for this session. The AMLE videos provide information regarding historical middle level development and feature many important leaders in the middle level movement. Participants will complete a middle level timeline with information regarding key leaders and publications, a This I Believe 2003 survey, the completion of a crosswalk chart for the Turning Points 2000, This We Believe 2003 and the Developmentally Responsive Middle School, as well as a middle level photo montage that addresses the three characteristics categories (Curriculum, Leadership and organization, and Culture and Community) from the This We Believe 2003 information.

Session Two: The Young Adolescent 

Young adolescents go through tremendous brain growth and physical development, which have a profound impact upon their lives and behavior. This is a period of personal and social identity formation, in which different roles, behaviors, and ideologies are explored. Middle schools should support and guide young adolescents as well as provide them with predictable and safe environments so they can risk, explore, and grow. In this session, you will identify developmental domains of young adolescents with whom you teach and/or work and evaluate the impact that research and understanding of young adolescent developmental domains have had upon the middle school movement. During the session project you will apply knowledge of the developmental domains of young adolescents to the 16 characteristics as outlined in the This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents 2003 Position Paper of the National Middle School Association.

Session Three: Session Three: Middle Grades Organization and Characteristics

Now that you have studied the history of the middle school movement and learned about the developmental domains of the adolescent student, it is time to explore further to see how highly effective, developmentally responsive, middle schools are organized to better meet the needs of these students than the typical junior high schools of the past. In this session, you will review and compare the characteristics of middle schools as envisioned by several well-known studies and become familiar with West Virginia Policy 2510: Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Educational Programs: 5.3 Middle School Programming (Grades 6-8) to see what is expected of middle schools in the state. You will also evaluate your middle school to see how it rates in its transformation into a model middle school and determine what you are doing well and what still needs to be improved to better meet the developmental needs of adolescents. Then you get to make suggestions about how you would organize a new middle school and monitor its success. Finally, you will reflect on the role of targeted staff development in school improvement.

Session Four: Middle Grades Teaming and Planning

Teaming is one of the most important aspects of middle level education. Collaborating is a rewarding experience that boosts morale and enlightens teaching experiences. Working on a team provides a platform to brainstorm new ideas, receive feedback from colleagues, and search for solutions to common problems faced at the middle level. Teaming is one of the best ways to get to know students - academically and emotionally. Students that are placed on caring and academically challenging teams experience greater success. However, teaming can be a challenge. Time is limited. Team members must learn to work together efficiently, stay focused and realize teaming is a process. This session will provide ways to develop an effective team with common planning time and participants will reflect on their team tasks, planning schedules, and determine where their team in presently functioning. With this information, participants will be able to determine strengths and weaknesses of their home team and how they can improve. Finally they will discuss how teams can resolve differences in order to reach consensus on practices and procedures to present a united front to students and parents.

Session Five: Middle Grades Scheduling

There are many factors that must be weighed and considered when deciding which type of schedule will work within any given school. The scheduling process must ensure that the needs of all students are met and staff are utilized efficiently and effectively.  Communication is also a vital piece to the scheduling process because the procedure and outcome must be communicated with the staff, students, parents and all other stakeholders involved. During this session course participants will compare and contrast middle school scheduling possibilities, describe and self-assess their current team, grade level or building schedule and consider flexible schedule scenarios.

Session Six: Middle Grades School Culture and Leadership

The focus of this session is the school culture and leadership in the middle grades.  Developmentally responsible middle schools need to maintain a strong leadership and supportive educational culture for teachers to effectively teach the student population.  To ensure student success, teachers must be able to work collaboratively, with both their content cohort as well as their grade level colleagues and stay current in their staff development and training.  The leadership of a developmentally responsible middle school will either promote successful learning among the student and teacher partnerships in the school or hinder it.  Keys to successful leadership in developmentally responsible middle schools include communication, collaboration, and being aware of the culture, values and needs of the community, as well as current educational best practices. Students need relevant, engaging lessons that are developed and taught by caring mentors. By conducting leadership and culture surveys, schools are able to determine their current status in these areas of importance as well as plan how to improve the areas in which the surveys determine the school is weak.  The goal of the developmentally responsible middle school is effective student learning, in which school culture and leadership is the center.

Assessment

Each session includes readings, activities, and a discussion assignment, which participants are required to complete weekly. This is a three-hour graduate level course and will require 30 - 45 hours to successfully complete the tasks. Participants should plan to spend 6.5 - 7 hours weekly to read assignments, complete activities including and participate actively in the weekly discussions.

Orientation Quiz: During the Orientation Session, participants are expected to complete the Orientation Quiz. The quiz may be completed as many times as necessary to score at least a 90% accuracy. 

Readings and Activities: Participants are expected to complete the required course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Optional readings may also be completed, but are not mandatory.

Course Products/Assignments:
Session One:
Session One Project Template & Session One Project Rubric
Session Two: Session Two Project & Session Two Project Rubric & Session Two Activity 1 Rubric & Session Two Activity 2 Rubric & Session Two Activity 3 Rubric
Session Three: Session Three Project & Session Three Project Rubric
Session Four: Session Four Project Template & Session Four Project Rubric
Session Five: Session Five Activity #1 Rubric & Session Five Activity #2 and Activity #3 Project Template & Session Five Activity #2 and Activity #3 Project Rubric
Session Six: Session Six Project Template & Session Six Project Rubric

Copyright: Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities. All work associated with the course project is to be the original work of the course participant. Fair use does not apply to the course project.

Discussion Forum: Participants will be evaluated weekly on the frequency and quality of their participation in the discussion forum. Participants are required to post a minimum of one substantial original posting each session in response to the discussion prompt for that session by Sunday evening. Participants are to respond thoughtfully to a minimum of two colleagues' original postings each session by Monday evening. They are to read all original messages by course participants and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session by Tuesday evening. Postings will be evaluated on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited and overall quality.

Read the Discussion Guidelines and the Checklist for Evaluating Discussion Postings. Your facilitator will follow these guidelines and the checklist when evaluating successful participation in the course Discussions. You will also be asked to peer review other participants' projects in the Discussions during Session One-Six, using rubric peer-reviews. The Rubric Review Help Guide will assist you in completing this successfully.

Grades: All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion. A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.

 Pre and Post Workshop Surveys: Participants are expected to complete both surveys. The Orientation Survey is to be completed by Sunday during the Orientation Session and the Final Survey is to be completed by Sunday during Session Six. 

Certificate of Completion
Upon successful completion of this course, The Developmentally Responsive Middle School, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant via attachment to the Session Six Dropbox shortly after the completion of the course.
Graduate Credit Information

Participants in this course are eligible to receive non-degree graduate credits from either West Virginia University, Marshall University, West Virginia State University, or Concord University. Credits will be awarded at the end of the semester in which the course occurs. Additional information is available on the course News/Welcome Page.

Content and Technology Standards


The Following policy and guidance document will be referenced in course content and assignments:
West Virginia Policy 2510: Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Educational Programs: 5.3 Middle School Programming (Grades 6-8) - (Effective 7/1/2016) at
http://apps.sos.wv.gov/adlaw/csr/readfile.aspx?DocId=27474&Format=PDF (PDF version) --OR--http://apps.sos.wv.gov/adlaw/csr/readfile.aspx?DocId=27474&Format=WORD (Word version)
--AND--
Policy 2510—Foundations for High Quality Middle Level Programming Guidance Document Grades 6-8 athttp://wvde.state.wv.us/instruction/documents/Policy2510GuidanceDocumentMiddleSchool201617_001.pdf will be referenced in the course project. 

This course, The Developmentally Responsive Middle School, will help participants meet the ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers (http://edtechleaders.org/documents/NETSAdminTeachers.pdf), especially Standards II, III, IV, and V. For more information about Technology Integration visit: http://www.iste.org.

About this Course

This course was developed by the West Virginia Department of Education.

Original design (before format modifications) by EdTech Leaders Online (http://www.edtechleaders.org), a project of Education Development Center, Inc, © 2007.  All rights reserved.