Culture and Community Culture: Preston Middle School is located right off of Interstate 25 on Corbett Drive. It is a choice school, so parents and students have a choice to go there. They are the largest middle school in Poudre School District with over 1100 students. They are a STEM school, but I like to think of it as a STEAM school, seeing as it is mandatory that 6th graders must experience the class in their first year. They also have an amazing Gifted and Talented program that includes GT kids gifted in creativity.
The community is extremely involved. They work many fundraisers monthly as well as other community charities such as helping the local shelters, collecting food for the free/reduced lunch students' families. Teaching here as well has shown an immense support from parents of students who would email me about grades and missing work.
Demographic Characteristics: The student body, as stated above is upwards of 1100 students. The student to teacher ratio is around 19-20 students per teacher.
Racial breakdown: White: 83.9% Hispanic: 7.2% Two or more races: 4.1%
Free/Discounted Lunch Recipients: 15.2%
Classroom Environment and art classes taught:
The art room: The room is amazing. The smell is of lavender from a wax burner near the teacher's seat to create a calm and friendly environment from the moment you walk in. Everything has a label to it. The drawers all have listed either what is in it, or a number for easy navigation for teacher and students. It is very clean, as the custodial staff takes a lot of pride in their job and are wonderful at what they do every single day at Preston MS. There are reminders of behavior listed on the wall above a table behavior chart. This is where each class is given tally marks to represent points that indicate that the students who sit there were: on time and quite entering the classroom, prepared for class, productive during work time, cleaned up timely and efficiently, and had appropriate use of technology throughout the whole class time. When they reach 10 any time during the week, the tables that reached their goal recieve a reward. The rewards are one of any of these options: candy, small trinket, 15 minutes of teaching, DJ for a day, or a Puma Track.
Class list and what was taught:
Art Activity and Appreciation: This is the 6th grade class that was mentioned before in the explanation of STEAM school. This is an intro class for 6th graders on the fundementals of a choice of mediums taught there. It is a quarter long class where the students explore colored pencil, watercolor paints, oil and chalk pastels, graphite, and techniques within each of those. These students focus a lot on studio habits so that they are prepared for future courses as well.
Crafts: This class is open for 7th and 8th graders who want to continue in art. It's a semester long course where we explored two different mediums. The first was clay. We worked with how to make a successful piece, as well as how to finish them with paint and glaze. Then in the class we worked on CorelDRAW to create pieces that we could wear. We learned an entirely new program in which we created works from a laser cutter to make original and unique symbollic designs from wood.
Painting: This is another class only offered to 7th and 8th graders. The students learned a program called ArtRage where they use a tablet to create paintings digitally having simliar conflicts that painting on a canvas would have and how to work around that through a digital program that is much more forgiving. The other project that we did was street art. This is where they explored topics and issues that they personally relate to. They found symbols to create a work that would express their passions without words and created their own stencils using another online program called, Stencilgram, and then resolved stencil issues in ArtRage, a more familiar tool.
Creative Vision: This is the only other class for only 6th graders. This was for the GT kids, specifically. They spent all semester researching a topic that they were passionate about and created some form of product to present to their peers at the end of the quarter in a 10-30 minute presentation.
School-wide Policies for Management: WIth a few students that were in need of special attention, they had one para and then another man in charge of those paras who also acted as one in the classroom. Any conflict involving those students and/or other students that may need intervention would start there if the classroom teacher couldn't give the attention and focus that those students needed. This involved many check ins with students and the paras. Students were also allowed to contact these folks and counselors with any information or guidence that they needed as the school day went on. The students also have access on the Preston Middle School website to report any bullying they may not feel comfortable speaking about during the school day.
On the PSD website they list other resources on campus:
"Safety Officers in PSDCampus Security Officers (CSO’s) and School Resource Officers (SRO’s) help keep students safe in Poudre School District. As part of the district’s Security Department staff, Campus Security Officers work at all school sites as the Eyes and Ears of the district. Duties include site security; vehicle, bike, and foot patrol; special event coverage; and crisis response and assistance. To learn more and to see a listing of all CSO's, refer to the Campus Security Officers page. School Resource Officers are certified police officers based at all district middle and senior high schools. SROs help maintain the school’s safe learning environment, improve school/law enforcement collaboration, and promote positive relations between students, staff and law enforcement officials. To learn more and to see a listing of SRO's, refer to the School Resource Officers page. Security SystemsThe Security Department installs, repairs and supports all burglar alarms, access control, and digital video systems. If you have questions regarding security systems, please contact Norm Bastian (email@example.com) at 970-490-3523. Safe Environment AssessmentsThe Security Department conducts Safe Environment Assessments on all schools annually. An integrated assessment team, comprised of district personnel and local law enforcement officers, visits school sites to work with site administrators to identify and find solutions for any school safety concerns. For more information about safe environment assessments, please contact Shawn Streeter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 970-490-3279."
As for positive behavior, Preston has a system in place called Puma Tracks. This is where students seen promoting positive behavior recieve one of these tickets with their name on it to turn in to the office for a possible reward from a drawing.