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Course Syllabus Title : Middle School is Not a Building: Best Practice in Vermont Credits: 3 Instructor:Mary Jackman Sullivan, EdD

Meeting dates and timesJune 24-29 with follow-up day, January, 2014 Location: Castleton State College, Castleton, Vermont

Course Description: Using the policy document, Middle School Is Not a Building, participants in this strand develop curriculum units, work on organizational issues, create assessment plans, and design ways to develop community within their teaching practice while developing the capacity to collaborate and investigate middle level philosophy and design. Individuals, teams of teachers and administrators are invited to participate in this weeklong workshop.

Goals: The course objectives are to: Provide focused and uninterrupted time for planning, reflection, exploration and collaboration; Encourage the development of interdisciplinary or integrated curriculum; Allow teams to resolve issues that reduce the effectiveness of the team; Promote and enact middle level principles as found in Middle School is Not a Building Create an Action Plan that outlines a project for the upcoming year that has been vetted through the best practice lens of the Middle School is Not a Building Goals Matrix. Principles for Vermont Educators The goals and objectives of this strand will focus on the following principles for Vermont educators: The educator understands how individuals and groups differ and creates equitable instructional opportunities that respond to the needs of all students (Principle 3). The educator works as a team member and forms professional relationships with colleagues as part of a system and actively implements the school's goals and articulated curriculum (Principle 10). The educator recognizes multiple influences on students inside and outside the school and accesses appropriate systems of support for students (Principle 12).

Learning Outcomes: The primary outcome for the strand is to have each individual or team leave the Institute with an Action Plan describing a project that will be implemented during the upcoming fall semester. Participants will not only implement the proposal in the fall, but also be required to present the results in a poster session or presentation at the annual Making Change in the Middle Conference in January 2014.


General Course Information

Attendance Expectations: Because learning in this strand depends on learner-to-learner interaction, your presence and participation is essential. Please be punctual and willing to contribute. If you are unable to attend a class session, please notify your colleagues and the instructors in advanced. Contributions in Class: During the strand you will be encouraged to work together in the creation of projects that you will implement at your school. Academic Honesty & Professionalism: Students will be held accountable to the UVM Code of Academic Integrity, which can be found at Required and/or recommended readings: Middle School is Not a Building may be found and downloaded at

Zoller-Booth_This_They_Believe.docx Details Download

Class book to be determined. Electronic Submissions/Internet Use: While we work together during the week we expect that you will keep a journal of your thinking about the experience. The journal should be reflections of what you have learned, reactions to prompts, how you think and rethink about your work, and wonderings about the middle grades. This journal will be electronic, read daily by colleagues and/or faculty and returned to you with comments.

Student Evaluation/Assessment

Your grade will be based on three areas of performance during the Institute and during the fall semester: participation in strand meetings and journal reflections; a completed Action Plan; and a poster or presentation session at the annual Making Change in the Middle Conference.
Format for Expected Work: Completed work will follow expected rules of grammar, usage and mechanics. It will be reflect each participants best work.

-3Scoring Rubrics:

Middle Grades Collaborative

Summer Institute 2013 Action Research Proposal Rubric Name: Grade:

Approaches Standard
Introduction Title and Abstract

Meets Standard
The introduction explains the rationale, background and purpose of the study. The context of the project is clearly discussed and properly situates the proposal. The research question and the rationale are clearly stated. Direct connections are made to middle level education. Literature provides a solid middle level education foundation for the study.

Exceeds Standard

Context of Project

The introduction explains the rationale, background and purpose of the study but not clearly. The context of the project is not clearly discussed as it relates to the proposal. The research question is vague and the rationale is not stated or not stated clearly.

The introduction describes your proje rationale and background for the stud articulates the purpose of the project. The context of the project is clearly d a more enhanced understanding of th

Research Question and Rationale Literature Support

The project goal(s) and the rationale a linkage between MSINAB Bridge Go is clear. The proposal enhances midd knowledge of the issue.

Literature mentions middle level educational research.

Literature, (including Middle School provides a middle level foundation fo synthesizes the research so that it full goal(s).

Action Plan Project Description

The proposal provides an incomplete plan for implementation, data collection and analysis.

The proposal provides a complete plan for implementation (including timeline), data collection and analysis. Student voice is part of the planning and implementation stages. Minor errors in grammar, usage, and/or mechanics. Errors do not distract from meaning.

The proposal provides a thorough pla (including timeline), data collection a voice is part of the planning and impl


Errors in grammar, usage, and/or mechanics. Errors are distracting and make meaning hard to comprehend.

No errors in grammar, usage, and/or use of grammar and vocabulary.


Percentage Contribution of Each Assignment: Participation and Journal 35% Action Research Plan 60% Fall Work & Presentation 5% Instructional Sequence: Course Schedule Date Monday June 24, 2013 8:00 5:30 Tuesday June 25 8:00 5:30 Agenda Introductions Share team project Discuss strand expectations Discuss Keynote Presentation Set timeline for Project while at the institute Begin work on Project Focusing Questions Who are we? Whats our mission? What should we expect? How does our project relate to the principles of democracy, diversity and dignity?

Wednesday June 26 8:00 5:30

-4Share Connecting Vision to Practice sessions with team Work collaboratively on Project Present preliminary proposal to Strand participants for feedback Share Choice sessions with team Consult with students for feedback on Proposal Draft of Action Plan with objectives, timelines, tasks for implementation and process to analyze Project's effectiveness. Table talks Debrief table talks Debrief strand Evaluations Implement team project Online discussions of team project

What are ways to improve our proposal?

Thursday June 27 8:00 5:30

How will we implement and evaluate our Project? How will students inform our teaching practice?

Friday June 28 8:00 5:30

Fall Semester

January Conference

Share Project with middle level teachers Discuss lessons learned about process of developing and implementing a Project

How can we use feedback from our colleagues to improve our Project? What are the next steps for implementing our Project? How are we modifying our Project? What is working well and what are challenges to our Project? What did we learn about the process of teaming? What did we learn from our Project? How has this process impacted our teaching?