Marlinton Middle School Principal Explains Their Academic Successes
Marlinton Middle School students did remarkably well on last year’s state assessment tests. Dustin Lambert, the school’s Principal proudly explains those scores and how the staff there helped the students achieve these impressive results.
“In terms of our test scores, and how we relate to other schools, there’s approximately a hundred and seventy (to) a hundred and eighty middle schools in different configurations throughout the State of West Virginia” said Principal Lambert. “We are very pleased to announce that our eighth grade students are first in the state in Math scores. And our seventh grade, they’re at a ranking of sixth and our sixth grade was at fourth in the state, those are just Math scores. And I just wanted to say that we’re the only school in the county whose proficiency scores from last year were above the state average and we are very proud of that.”
“Our ELA (English Language Arts as measured by reading) scores were also very good. West Virginia proficiency in sixth grade was 45% and our sixth graders from last year scored at a 55% proficiency. Seventh grade, the state proficiency was at a 48% and our seventh grade scored at a 58%. And our eigth grade from last year scored at a 57% versus the state proficiency at a 45%. So we are very proud of our ELA too. We have some work to do in our ELA classes this year with our sixth grade but we’ve already put into place those interventions that we believe just as they were successfully implemented last year, they are going to be successfully implemented this year. Our teachers work incredibly well together in our ELA Department to bring writing and reading together. I think writing is one of the most important and crucial parts of teaching ELA and how it relates to reading, but not only reading but the other disciplines as well –Social Studies, Science and even Math. So we’re working really hard there as well.”
“In Science, eighth grade in middle school is the only grade to be tested, and the West Virginia proficiency rate was at a 38% and our test scores were at a 52%.”
“I think we can attribute our success last year to four or five different things that we have done. First and foremost, our RTI Intervention where we do fundamental skill building in our ELA classes and our Math classes. That’s very important to us, where we pull kids and give them that extra support where they are missing those skills. We do early interventions. We benchmark four times a year in ELA and Math, and we target those students who are being unsuccessful. We also do something very unique here called ‘Student Goal Setting’ where we have students look at their previous test scores from two or three years ago and make goals about where they want to be in the upcoming year. And we really focus hard on that through our counseling services. Melissa Hill does a fantastic job of making certain that happens in our ELA and Math classes. And I believe it works for us to have those talks with our students. We have an adaptive schedule where we can pull students in their related arts sometimes to give them a boost in other classes. We also do ‘At Risk Lists’ with our students. If we see that our students aren’t being successful throughout the first nine weeks, the second nine weeks, we puit them on a list and we get them some extra help through our Academic Interventionist. We are very fortunate here. We have two Academic Interventionists who are paid through a grant. “
“So, we are doing great things here at this middle school, to no credit of myself, but to the teachers here. They work incredibly well together. Their main focus, their main priority is to see students succeed in our school. They’re not just here for a paycheck, they’re not here just to put on a show, they’re here to prove that we’ve got the skills with- in our own building to make our students successful. In a school of a hundred and forty students, just that personal touch that we can add to to our education –not saying that other schools don’t do that- but we can definitely make ourselves relevant to students. They’re not just a number to us. We know something about them, we know something about their family, we know something about what makes them unique, and how they can best fit into our programs. And I think that’s what we have going for us, that we definitely can definitely focus on kids that are struggling to make them successful, not only here at the middle school, but at the high school as well.