What was the need?
In winter 2017, Roosevelt Middle School in Oceanside, California brought a leadership team together to identify what opportunities and supports they were currently offering to ensure every student is prepared with the academic, social-emotional, and critical thinking skills they will need for high school and beyond. As they inventoried all that they do for students, they realized that they were really busy! Next, a closer look at how their efforts were being used allowed them to identify which supports and opportunities ALL students were receiving, which supports and opportunities SOME students receiving, and a which ones only a FEW students were receiving. Lastly, after they sifted through all that they offer students, they identified the explicit skills their students are gaining that prepare them for life after high school.
By the end of the session, the team realized that while they were doing so much for their students, like many secondary schools, they were not actively using a common language throughout their campus that would allow students to see how the skills they are learning connect and prepare them to be life-ready. Through the process, however, Roosevelt’s leadership team identified two opportunities that were already part of their community that they would be able to leverage to create a more cohesive school experience for students – the schoolwide Artful Learning curriculum, and the Roosevelt PRIDE Promise statements developed by the school staff (Personalized Learning; Relationships; Ingenuity; Development of Character; and Exploration).
What did Roosevelt MS do to address the need?
To ensure that both students and teachers have a universal understanding about the life ready skills that every student needs to have when they leave school, Inflexion consultants worked with the school leaders to collect feedback, using a survey, from both students and staff about what the PRIDE promise statements mean to them and how they see them relating to their everyday lives. Based on this and on what they knew about the skills students were gaining through the Artful Learning curriculum, Inflexion consultants developed Life Ready Maxims that Roosevelt Middle School can use every period, every day so that both teachers and students can draw clear connections between all that they are learning and teaching. Not only can the maxims be used by every student and staff member in the school, they can also show how past and present efforts align.
What is Artful Learning?
Artful Learning is a transformational learning model that empowers educators to use the arts and the artistic process to awaken and sustain the love of learning for all students. It embeds the arts within the learning process through a carefully researched, concept-based, interdisciplinary model that has proven to increase comprehension in students as well as improve academic achievement.
How’s it working?
Roosevelt’s Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) team came together at the end of the school year to review and discuss how they can use their maxims, particularly through the Artful Learning curriculum, to bring cohesion and alignment to all that they do at Roosevelt Middle School.
What Are Life Ready Maxims?
Life Ready Maxims are statements that act as a school’s core drivers to equip and empower every student to pursue their passion, interests, and aspirations. They are used to highlight the areas of hidden strength already within a school. They can also be used as aspirational statements to reinforce the promises your school makes to the community. Maxims should be displayed widely and built into the daily curriculum, as a whole or in part, to familiarize your students and staff with them and embed them into the school culture.
In fall 2018, the ILT and the STSS teams will determine the best way to begin using the maxims and the Artful Learning experience to provide students with the opportunities to continually learn to
- Persist to achieve their goals,
- Reflect to identify and create solutions,
- Inquire to connect and understand,
- Develop their strengths and build a better world, and
- Experience new perspectives and engage in lifelong learning.
The goal is that no matter what students are doing throughout their school day, whether it is a math class or an after school club, they can identify and articulate how they are using and exemplifying the PRIDE maxims. Ideally, they would even start to see the connections to what they do outside of their school day. The Roosevelt Middle School leadership will also explore how they will continue to collect feedback from students and staff through surveys and focus groups to monitor students’ progress as they gain these skills.