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 Executive Summary

James A. Shanks Middle School
Gadsden County School District
Mr. Lamar Kirkland, Principal
1400 W King St
Quincy, FL 32351-1436


James A. Shanks Middle School is a Title I school, which is located in Quincy, Florida, a rural community approximately twenty-two miles west of Tallahassee, the state capital. James A. Shanks Middle School is the home of the "Tigers." We serve students in grades six through eight from five feeder schools: Gadsden Magnet School, George Munroe Elementary, Stewart Street Elementary, Gretna Elementary, and St. John Elementary. Following the middle school concept, the teachers and students are organized into three teams: a team at each grade level. Diverse activities include academic, service and honors clubs, as well as athletics. Additional offerings include physical education, music, art, and vocational classes.

Description of the School

The school has an administrative team that consists of the principal, two assistant principals, two guidance counselors, and three part-time academic coaches. Our instructional staff consists of forty certified teachers and all who are highly qualified by state definition. Of the 41 teachers, all of them hold a bachelor's degree and 16 (40%) possess advanced degrees. One (3%) is national board certified, four (10%) is reading endorsed and three (8%) is ESOL endorsed. The support staff includes an office manager, school secretary, data entry clerk, seven paraprofessionals, eight food service workers, and four custodians.

Currently, the total enrollment is 589 students in grades 6-8. Our student population is made up of 81% Black, 1% White, 17% Hispanic and 1% other. Approximately 85% of James A. Shanks Middle School students qualify for free or reduced meals. Our exceptional education population is 18%. This population includes exceptionalities ranging from Gifted to Trainable Mentally Handicapped. Students have additional learning opportunities after school, on Saturdays, and during the summer through the 21st Century Program. The program offers tutoring, homework assistance, enrichment activities, and FCAT instruction.

The Gadsden County School District is a well-kept secret in the State of Florida. The Gadsden County School District is a district of about 7,000 students and 1,000 employees. Nestled in a sm all community of beautiful green, rolling hills just twenty miles south of the southernmost border of Georgia and twenty miles west of Tallahassee. The county was named for James Gadsden, aide-de-camp to General Andrew Jackson. Gadsden County is one of 67 counties in Florida.

Gadsden County at large is a rural agriculture community consisting of six municipalities, which is heavily dependent upon agriculture and county and state government for its employment base. The 2011 U. S. census data reported that Gadsden County had a population of 46,151. The county's racial make-up was 56% African American, 42% White, 10% Hispanic, .6% American Indian, and .6% Asian. The 2010 U. S. Census also reported Gadsden County's educational status as following: 75.7% of the population was high school graduates and 12.3% held bachelor degrees or higher. The median household income was $35,728 with the percentage of people below poverty at 27.6%.

School's Purpose

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.


To ensure every student makes adequate yearly progress.

Faculty and Staff Creed:

Integrity above all, selfless service, and excellence in all we do!

Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement

Students here at James A. Shanks Middle School are provided 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. The academic goal at JASMS is to ensure every child demonstrates adequate yearly progress in the areas of reading and math. Students in eighth grade must demonstrate proficiency in writing and science. JASMS has received a letter grade of "C, B, C, C, and D" respectively over the last five years. With the 2010-2011 school year and student performance resulted in a school grade of "B," the highest school performance rating by a middle school in Gadsden County School District's history. Writing proficiency is consistently demonstrated in the 90% range. While the reading and math proficiency ratings fluctuate in the 40-60% range. The science proficiency rating, although increasing yearly, is well below the state average. These achievements were accomplished through research-based, data-driven, continuous improvement efforts, and increased implementation of proven research-based instructional strategies. Our parents and community stakeholders are actively involved in improving the quality of education our students receive at JASMS through the Special Operations Group, PTA, School Advisory Council, and parent expos. In 2012, we were recognized for our Parent Involvement Program by the Florida Parent and Teacher Association, Department of Education and State Farm Insurance Agency. Our staff creed; "Integrity above all, Selfless service and Excellence in all we do!!" speaks to our the academic and professional commitment to student success. We have established a new CAPE Academy in Information Technology, which can lead to students receiving industry certification and high school course credit. We also offer other high school level courses which indicate our increased efforts for a more rigorous and challenging academic environment as we transition to the new common core standards and national assessment educational progress expectations.

Additional Information

JASMS is implementing common core state standards and will have full implementation by June 2013. The instructional focus is centered around explicit teaching and learning with heavy emphasis on close reading, text complexity, vocabulary development, and comprehensive instructional sequence. JASMS uses empirical data from standardized tests scores to determine school improvement efforts. The faculty meets regularly to disaggregate student performance data. Progress monitoring meetings are held bi-weekly to view, discuss and strategize for continual student progress. Professional development opportunities and collaborative academic team meetings provide opportunities to develop instructional strategies to improve academic performance for all students. Our goal and school-wide expectations of faculty, staff, and students are aligned to the continuous improvement model. We continue to provide opportunities and support services to ensure parental involvement. We use all mediums and resources to communicate with parents through the use of Parent Link, school webpage, Engrade and correspondence. Student planners are used to record student homework assignments nightly, progress reports, report cards and parent conferences to build relationships between the school, students and parents. Business and community partners play a vital part in helping us meet the needs of our students. Current partners include: City of Quincy (Government and Recreation); Florida State University, College of Education; Tallahassee Community College CROP and Talent Search programs, Flagler College, Florida A & M University, College of Education; Pizza Hut; and Talquin Electric Cooperative, Inc.