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Standard 1

Standard:    The school maintains and communicates a purpose and direction that commit to high expectations for learning as well as shared values and beliefs about teaching and learning.

1.1 James A. Shanks Middle School recognizes the importance of stakeholders' understanding and commitment to the direction and purpose of the school, as well as their input when establishing a direction and purpose of the school. Therefore, the opinions and suggestions of the stakeholders were incorporated in the process of establishing the direction and purpose. Many efforts were made to communicate the direction and purpose to all stakeholders so that they would be able to understand the purpose leading to their commitment to helping achieve the purpose for the school. The direction and purpose statements are used as the foundation for strategic planning which is evidenced in the school improvement plan.

The direction and purpose are communicated in both formal and informal methods to all stakeholders. These efforts include posting the vision in multiple, visually conspicuous areas around the school, including the school's website, during faculty meeting and department meetings to place great emphasis on its importance. The direction and purpose are also presented at parent meetings.

The vision, mission and creed of the school play a major part in the purpose and direction. The vision is to create a safe and stimulating learning environment across the curriculum, which maximizes individual potential and ensure students of all ability levels are well equipped to meet the challenges of education and life. With that, the mission is to ensure every student makes adequate yearly progress. The faculty and staff creed encompasses "integrity above all, selfless service and excellence in all we do."

1.2 James A. Shanks Middle School utilizes numerous methods to develop and maintain a profile of its students and community to effectively implement the goals identified at the school. Multiple accountability documents are in place to track student progress in meeting goals. Standardized assessment data are gathered to address achievement levels and needs. Parents and community leaders attend open house meetings, parent expos and other school functions to gain knowledge and assist in working together to enhance and improve the quality of education for all students. Suggestions of the stakeholders are monitored from surveys collected. Information concerning events, activities, programs, academic progress, accomplishments, and accolades are reported through school and county-wide newspaper articles.

Staff members were issued handbooks during pre-planning to document the school's policies and procedures. Students were provided a student/parent handbook and agenda book during the first week of school. Student data is continuously monitored through the district's online data program, and through bi-weekly progress monitoring at the school level. The TERMS program is used to document enrollment, attendance, ESL and special learning needs. In addition to the traditional grade books for record-keeping, teachers are also using a program titled Engrade to record student grades and give parents access to their student's grades online.

1.3 All activities and programs at James A. Shanks Middle School revolve around its purpose. The principal meet with the faculty and staff on an as needed basis to ensure that a shared responsibility and school focus is communicated. Staff meetings are held to ensure that the school's goals are guiding the educational process.

The school administrators participate in the district's annual summer leadership training that serves as a tool for ongoing professional development.

To ensure that the direction and purpose of James A. Shanks Middle School remains current and aligned with state and district expectations, we include the goals in our annual school improvement plan. The school improvement plan reflect data gathered from parent, staff and student surveys as well as feedback gathered at department, grade group, and school leadership meetings.