Designing a middle school experience in western Arden-Arcade
One common theme heard from students, parents, staff and community during a yearlong listening and learning effort at Encina Preparatory High School was the need to improve the middle school experience for students. Before making any decisions on changing the middle school structure for grades six through eight at Encina, the district launched an extensive effort to determine what academic offerings, support programs and facilities are needed to meet the needs of the diverse community that makes up the western portion of Arden-Arcade.
Board Workshop - Feb. 25
On Feb. 25, the Board of Education will hold a workshop for its members to hear the latest input collected and discuss the recommended path moving forward in developing a middle school program to meet the needs of the western portion of Arden-Arcade. The meeting is open to the public and will take place at 4 p.m. in the board room at the District Office, 3738 Walnut Avenue in Carmichael.
Phase 1: Characteristic Development
Through the use of a Thoughtexchange process, focus groups and interviews, input has been collected from parents, students, staff members, community groups and other individuals on the qualities and services needed in a middle school that will meet the needs of students and families. Characteristics that emerged in conversation include:
- social-emotional supports
- enrichment opportunities
- academic and other supports
- separating the 6-8 and 9-12 program
- creating a challenging program
The input collected was shared with a working advisory group of principals, teachers and a parent to review and offer advice on moving forward. The advisory group has recommended separating the grades 6-8 program from the grades 9-12 program with the following key considerations being taken into consideration:
- offer expanded enchriment classes
- create support structures (social-emotional supports, staffing, class sizes, etc.)
- ensure synergistic and consistent governance of programs with focused administration at the middle school and high school programs
In considration of the input collected from all parties and the recommendation of the advisory group, the superintendent and district staff are recommending a revised timeline that allows for thoughtful development of a comprehensive middle school program during the 2020-21 school year with changes potentially beginning in 2021-2022.
We asked your thoughts on what was needed in a middle school to meet the needs of students and families in the western portion of the Arden-Arcade region. Take a look at what was shared.
The Thoughtexchange results helped inform discussions with focus groups and the work of an advisory group which has issued a recommendation and several key considerations as we move forward to develop a new middle school experience.