2017-06-09 / Community

Memorial Middle School

Megan Welter, Principal

Rebecca Stearn,

Assistant Principal

In 2017, Memorial Middle School turns 50 years old. And though the building is largely unchanged in these 50 years, the teaching and learning occurring within its walls and around the building has changed significantly. Whenever there is such a monumental anniversary, there is cause to look back and reflect as well as to look ahead with anticipation. In considering the year in review, there are a great many things to celebrate. When Memorial opened its doors 50 years ago, students learned English, Arithmetic, Science and Social Studies. They took classes these classes and earned their marks. Today, our students continue to demonstrate deep levels of understanding and skill in these subjects, and they are even more aware of how these concepts relate to prior learning and to other concepts. As our teachers have been more transparent about their learning targets, our students have become better and better able to accurately assess and describe what they know and what they are still working to master. By encouraging accurate

self-assessment, our teachers are shifting greater and greater responsibility for learning to the students - making them agents of their learning. In addition to students’improved understanding of what they know and what they don’t, students have worked throughout the year to identify ways to improve their school and community. Our students meet each week in an advisory program called “Connections.”This year, our 8th graders spent almost a third of the year working in action-research groups to contribute positively to the school and larger South Portland community. They worked together to identify and solve problems. Students researched and created action plans to improve the school by adding bottle filling water fountains, to reduce the number of disposable bottles being used. They worked with teacher advisors to start community service projects, including peer mentoring programs and tutoring help at nearby Skillin School. Other student groups also researched and proposed ways to incorporate movement activities into the school day and some of their ideas have been adopted in next year’s master schedule! As responsible and involved citizens, our students have also assumed leadership roles in the school and in the community through their work in a variety of activities. Student leaders facilitated discussions with groups of students during our Civil Rights Day, and they organized and presented at our 6th annual Multicultural Day in May. Our students have contributed to the Memorial food pantry, donated canned goods for numerous food drives and led efforts to reduce waste and recycle. While middle school students today face some of the same challenges as did middle school students 50 years ago, as they try to find their identity, fit in with friends, distinguish themselves from the crowd and find balance between school and fun, our students are encouraged to also think critically about their learning and to direct their learning. As a result of our teachers’ continuing efforts to teach these 21st Century Skills, our students are leaving Memorial as more involved citizens, more effective communicators and more creative problem solvers!

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