Carmel Middle School is located in the South Park area of Charlotte. Our total student enrollment is approximately 1050 students. Our student population is comprised of the following ethnicities: White 62%, African-American 16.6%, Hispanic 23%, Asian 1%, American Indian 9% and Multi-Racial (more than one) 11%. Our Economically Disadvantaged (EDS) subgroup constitutes 41% of our student population. Students with a Disability (SWD) population are currently 11% and certified Academically Gifted student population is 16%. Our current data reflects that 9% of our student population has been identified as Limited English Proficient.
Carmel Middle School has a total of 60 classroom teachers on staff, two administrators, a dean of students, two counselors and 15 support staff. Of the 67 certified staff, we have 10 National Board certified teachers. There are 23 certified staff members with Master’s Degrees and 4 additional teachers are enrolled in a Master’s program.
Carmel Middle School has consistently met or exceeded state and national goals as measured by the North Carolina End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests. Each year Carmel has performed above the school system and state averages. Carmel was recertified as a “Schools to Watch” in 2013-2014. In 2013-2014, we made Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) meeting 47 out of 51 total targets. We did not meet targets for African Americans and Hispanic students and students that are Economically Disadvantage in Reading Proficiency. Our LEP and SWD students did not meet the Reading proficiency. Both LEP and EDS subgroups did not meet the AMO requirement in Math. However, the overall school population exceeded expected growth as designated by the state.
Here at Carmel Middle School, we use differentiated instruction, a flexible teaching approach that adapts the curriculum to individual learning needs. Professional Learning Communities use data to help identify the quantity and quality of student learning. In addition, we are targeting students who are academically at-risk by monitoring and creating interventions specific to their needs. We analyze text for complexity to ensure the appropriate level of rigor for students. To help meet our exceptional children’s needs, we have been working with our teachers on best practices and strategies to be used within the inclusion classrooms.
Academic and Character Enrichment, (ACE) is time not only to enrich students, but also to accelerate students identified as needing extra support in math and reading. ACE is a 40 minute time slot between 1st and 2nd block every day. Carmel learners will be given quarterly connections to different objectives dependent upon their needs. Our tiered focus for the first quarter will be Digital Citizenship, Character Education, Academic Success Skills and Utilizing Technology as a resource for learning and teaching. Second and third quarters we will implement project based learning tasks to allow students to take ownership of their learning. Using real-world connections, teachers guide and mentor their students through this thematic based task. Fourth quarter we will continue our thinking and academic success skills to enrich and accelerate while infusing Character Education. We will also allow students the option of sustained silent reading of appropriately leveled text matching Lexiles aimed at independent comprehension and fluency, or coding geared towards their level of expertise utilizing critical thinking skills.
Also, In addition, during 2nd and 3rd quarters we will focus on students who are below grade level in Reading and Math. These students will be placed into a class like ability groups to support growth in either Math or Reading. Two of these groups will target our English Language Learners (ELLs) incorporating SIOP methods and Leveled Literacy Instruction (LLI). All other students will have the opportunity to be enriched through project based learning. Each grade level has created cross-curricular thematic units of study centered on Science (2nd quarter) and Global Studies (3rd quarter). Students will collaborate to create on end product based on the given task. The school will also be working on a service learning project during this time. We will continue to work on raising achievement and closing achievement gaps. Several weeks before testing, we will offer differentiated Heightened Review, grouping learners based on their level of need(s). Our goal is for all students to achieve growth on end of grade tests.
Every student at Carmel Middle School has the opportunity to use a Chromebook to support their learning and growth. Teachers are using the State Learning Management System, Canvas, to provide instructional support as well as instant feedback. Schoolnet, an assessment platform, allows teachers to create instructional assessments to both pre and post assess student learning. We have created job embedded Professional Development that focuses on differentiation strategies, flexible grouping, blended learning strategies and technology in the classroom while implementing the Common Core State Standards as well as the North Carolina State standards. The PTSA will generously continue to support our efforts by providing resources to improve student achievement and support our school-wide goals.
Carmel Middle School’s English Language Arts (ELA) department seeks to continue our pursuit of preparing students for college and beyond. Therefore, we will continue to use the Collegeboard AP framework entitled, SpringBoard. SpringBoard is a Pre-AP ELA curriculum for grades 6-12, based on the Common Core State Standards. This curriculum is designed to aid student success through integrated instructional materials, close reading of complex text, and high quality sustained embedded assessments. With this framework, all students will be able to succeed in a rigorous academic environment and make significant achievement gains. Teachers are given ongoing professional development in ways to infuse SpringBoard Digital, which includes opportunities for short cycle assessments allowing teachers to track objectives for mastery. Our instructional system will clearly map what college and career ready students should know and be able to do at each grade level. For that reason, the following essential characteristics are expected:
• Increase rigor in curriculum by utilizing close reading of complex text in all content areas
• Challenge and engage all students through a “toolbox” of learning strategies
• Develop 21st century literacy skills (delving into both classic and contemporary or “new literacies”)
• Explore real-world contextual settings and situations
• Emphasize higher order thinking skills and student ownership of learning
• Plan collaboratively to increase staff knowledge of content literacy standards including the argument, explanatory and narrative writing products and processes in lesson development and implementation
• Create and deliver professional development that increases the skills and knowledge of school staff in the SpringBoard and Standards of Mathematical of Practice by examining resources and utilizing standards based grading for mastery
• Provide information updates, as available, to staff on assessment development, design, and timeline.
Carmel Middle School obtained the opportunity from CMS to transform our school into a place of personalized learning. Our goal is to transform teaching and learning from passive direct instruction to a 21st century learner-centered collaborative environment encompassing critical thinking for both students and staff. As we strive to include project-based learning opportunities for students to meet the standards within the state curriculum, we will implement Personalized Learning in a variety of classrooms to support student needs and learning styles. Within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Personalized Learning is an instructional design that requires a fundamental shift from a traditional teaching model, to a classroom that empowers and nurtures the social, emotional, academic, and developmental needs of each self-directed 21st century learner. Student needs would be met based on short assessments of content prescribed at the appropriate level and interest of students. Personalized learning will strengthen the engagement of students and develop active learners who take responsibility for their learning by moving at a pace allowing mastery of a given objective. Through tailored instruction, our learners will move from receivers of knowledge to seekers of knowledge. Taking ownership of their learning will empower students to become more accountable and responsible for their education. Our students will experience a learning environment conducive to a more active and collaborative learning approach. Carmel PTSA has transformed one classroom into a collaborative learning environment creating a climate for students to actively engage in 21st century learning opportunities.