Imagination Station transforms popsicle sticks in artwork to support SAILS!
When the upcoming 5th graders visited O'Maley last spring to learn about the SAILS program, which promotes building a respectful community through Service, Acceptance, Integrity, Leadership and Success, they each wrote their name on a colorful popsicle stick. This fall, the students in the Imagination Station classroom took the popsicle sticks and turned them into a work of art to support the SAILS initiative. The colorful mosaic mural is on display in the commons at O'Maley. Inspiration through Art!
O’Maley is Structured to Meet Student Needs
O’Maley Middle School is organized around the unique needs of 6th-8th grade students. From the team format to the looping of Assistant Principals and Guidance Counselors, the school structure is tailored to build relationships that enhance both academic and social development.
Middle school students are maturing as learners. They are moving from concrete to abstract thinking. They are beginning to: take responsibility for their learning, work more independently, and be self-motivated. The team format nurtures this evolving academic maturity by giving students opportunities for growth while maintaining consistent relationships with fellow students and teachers.
Grades are divided into three Teams consisting of two or four 23-26 student homerooms. A core-subject teacher (English Language Arts, Math, Science or Social Studies) leads each homeroom. [See Organization Chart.] Together these teachers form a teaching Team. Team members practice agreed upon classroom management strategies to give students consistency. The Team works closely together, meeting often for planning and to discuss individual student needs. This close cooperation enables teachers to better differentiate and customize lessons. Students within a homeroom form bonds which create a unique group dynamic. Teachers quickly learn how to utilize this dynamic to further learning.
While Teams have their own identities, all students in a grade are taught the same material. Curriculum is consistent across Teams. Regular grade level and subject area meetings are held to keep everyone on the same page.
6th – 8th graders are developing their sense of self, of who they are, and how they fit in. Gaining exposure to new people, they are defining what they want in friendships and learning how to resolve conflicts. Nurturing social skills is a crucial piece of middle school education. Assistant Principals and Guidance Counselors play a huge role in directing that leaning.
Each incoming class will have the same Guidance Counselor for all three years at O’Maley. Guidance Counselors move up, or loop, with their students. Looping allows the Guidance Counselors to build strong bonds with students and, in many cases, their parents. They are the go-to people for student and parent issues and concerns. This year’s 6th grade team will be next year’s 7th grade team and the 8th grade team will start fresh next year with the incoming 6th graders.
Friendship and its associated ups and downs take up a great deal of middle schoolers’ energy. When things go wrong concentrating on academics can be impossible. Guidance Counselors serve as a refuge, someone who will listen and help. They can provide an outlet to air the situation and give a student the tools they need to process it. Students are encouraged to: identify the crux of the issue, reflect meaningfully on it, and come to an appropriate resolution. Then their focus can return to academics.
Middle schoolers are often impulsive and, striving for independence, they can make mistakes and fail to meet school standards. Assistant Principals intervene to address disciplinary issues and restore the focus on leaning. The goal in these circumstances, as always, is to teach. Students are given meaningful consequences for their missteps. The AP, GC and classroom teachers work together to resolve the issue and, where needed, continue to monitor the situation. Everyone with whom students interact strives to create a culture of respect and a climate of consistent high expectations.
Growth is explosive in the middle school years. O’Maley allows administrators, counselors and teachers to truly get to know their students and guide them during this important time.
O'Maley Innovation Middle School
32 Cherry Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
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