By Sue Moore
Laura Kuhlman, principal since late fall of 2012, and Matt VanDussen, assistant principal beginning in the fall of 2013, presented a glimpse into the future of Vicksburg Middle School. The presentation began with both Kuhlman and VanDussen sharing how proud they were of the hard work of their staff and students.
Next in the presentation to the board was the sharing of MEAP data. The current year 2013-2014 MEAP data is still embargoed, which means the state has not yet released this information to the public. Since this same data was presented last year to the board, the pair decided to share the data in a different way this year. Instead of presenting the data in isolation, such as the 87% proficiency in reading for last year’s 7th graders, Kuhlman and VanDussen wanted the data to reflect the growth Vicksburg middle school students made over time from 3rd grade to 8th grade.
The last part of the presentation had the most powerful impact as it gave the board a vision of what Vicksburg Middle School will look like in the years ahead. They discussed the district’s mission, vision, and belief statements. Kuhlman and VanDussen shared how specific components, such as identifying priority standards, implementing a multi-tiered system of support, aligning curriculum to the Common Core State Standards, working towards standards-based grading, and building solid professional learning communities will allow all students to learn at high levels.
Kuhlman discussed how they “have created a leadership team, and this team has worked through implementation of providing Tier 2 support, which started the beginning of the 2nd semester.” VanDussen added “the research shows that some students need more time and opportunities in order to develop a deeper understanding of the curriculum, and we are providing that with our tutorials.”
Kuhlman shared “the importance of looking through various lenses when considering schedule changes.” She went on to add “students need the extra time to learn those essential standards and we need to find time during the school day to do it.”
“We expect a lot of our students and want to take the mystery out of learning, so it’s critical we create a structure and system that identifies what students know and don’t know,” VanDussen said. He continued, “It’s important this information is communicated to and tracked by students, and that we have the appropriate interventions in place to respond to this information.”