Model School Practice
Name of Model Program/Practice: Connective Culture
Mesa View Middle School is incredibly proud of the diverse student population it serves. There is a strong belief at Mesa View that all students need to be valued and supported in their middle school experience in order to maximize their learning and success. Inside and outside the classroom, Mesa View staff has made a conscious effort to build a culture that is positive and supportive. As a result, students experience a connective school culture that strives to meet the diverse learning and behavior needs of the student population.
Introducing students into the Mesa View culture begins before the first day of school. Every August, new students participate in an orientation in which they are matched with upper-grade leaders as part of the school’s Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) program. WEB empowers 7th and 8th-grade students to be strategically trained to support 6th-grade students with tools to aid them in navigating the middle school experience. This partnership is maintained throughout the first year of school.
Beginning on day one, all students are taught clear behavior expectations. Mesa View’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) use Respect as the foundation. Mesa View's PBIS culture is based on three primary behavior goals: Respect yourself, Respect others, and Respect the environment. Better known by students as the 3R's, these goals motivate students to engage in appropriate behaviors and expectations throughout the school year. By establishing a reward system in which the Mesa View staff can recognize students’ positive behaviors, staff members can provide positive referrals. In turn, students use their positive referrals to participate in an incentive drawing, sponsored by Mesa View’s Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO). The expectations of the 3R’s are consistently reinforced throughout the school year. The staff has the opportunity to analyze behavior data and participate in a staff survey to further refine school-wide behavior expectations.
A staff that believes and demonstrates the mindset that they can empower every child is the essential resource for building a connective culture. All staff, certificated and classified, maintains the mindset that each team member affects the entire school, and not just their isolated classroom. Shared teacher leadership is highly valued and influential at Mesa View. The school’s connective culture and student achievement have been strengthened by maintaining this culture. Developed by the teaching staff, Mesa View’s leadership team consists of teachers that work in partnership with school administration to meet the learning and behavioral needs of the middle school child student. Mesa View’s PTSO also works in tandem with school administration to develop a budget that helps reinforce the goal of connecting the student body. PTSO has been instrumental in financially supporting motivational speakers, student behavior incentives, a teacher grant program, electives, music, and parent engagement.
The classrooms and student learning environment are a collective strength at Mesa View. Students benefit from consistently high behavioral and academic expectations. When students walk into the classroom environment, they are greeted with a positive teacher that has prepared a thoughtful and engaging lesson. With the use of an “I can” statement, the clear learning objective is front and center. Students are actively engaged in their learning using Mesa View’s valued signature practices, which include academic language, prompts of depth and complexity, "I can” statements, Thinking Maps, authentic literacy, and high-level depth of knowledge questioning strategies.
Schoolwide PBIS booster lessons are implemented mid-year to reinforce the Mesa View 3R’s, thus addressing students’ social-emotional and behavioral needs throughout the year. Lessons in a “growth mindset” and “maintaining grit in the academic setting” are encouraged and provided. On a weekly basis, a collaboration between school administration, psychologist, and a classroom teacher takes place to strategize ways to support Mesa View’s learners. This team reviews the needs of the student in order to facilitate and monitor a course of action.
Teacher leadership has developed a system to monitor students that are not demonstrating growth in the areas of academics and behavior. Maintained by grade-level leaders, the Pre-Student Study Team process helps the teacher to monitor students before referring them to a Student Study Team.
Mesa View continues its work in accordance with the Ocean View School District's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). OVSD’s LCAP implements a school climate program and related services that help communicate and reinforce appropriate behavior expectations, provide necessary interventions, and integrate PBIS and OVSD’s Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Continuum.
Building a connected culture means providing students with numerous opportunities to learn in a safe environment, where they feel valued and become invested in their learning environment. Mesa View staff have created popular elective courses for students: a music elective, including choir, strings, and band; sports programs, which include basketball, volleyball, cross country, and track and field; leadership electives that strive to bridge a positive culture; a Kindness Club for students to practice kind acts on campus; and the California Junior Scholastic Federation, which encourages community service. These are just a few of the opportunities provided to Mesa View students.
Implementation & Monitoring of Model Program/Practice
Parents play a critical role in developing and maintaining Mesa View’s connected culture. Parents are encouraged to stay involved in their child’s education by volunteering through PTSO, connecting through meaningful dialogue with school administration via “Coffee with the Principal” events, or participating in the School Site Council to provide input on Mesa View’s Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).
Consistent communication is key to Mesa View’s success. Weekly emails from PTSO are sent home with school updates and upcoming events. A respectful social media presence is consciously upheld to celebrate academic and behavioral successes on campus. Early October brings Mesa View’s Back to School Night, which opens with a message from school administration and highlights the school’s PBIS program. Parents are invited to move through their child’s classroom schedule, meet the teachers, and listen to individual classroom behavior expectations. Teachers establish partnerships with parents during conferences in October and reinforce them throughout the year and again at the April conferences. Students get involved with community communication during PTSO meetings, where they are provided a voice to share updates and highlights. At the same meeting, the Mesa View principal addresses the community as well.
Bi-monthly leadership meetings provide a way to monitor the success and continuous improvement of Mesa View’s connective culture. On a monthly basis, grade-level teams meet to focus on PBIS data and review students whose progress is monitored. Data used to help monitor the effectiveness of the connected culture includes the number of positive referrals turned into the office, the number of schoolwide tardies, monthly attendance reports, and names of students who are maintaining a GPA of less than 2.0.
The monitoring and assessment of student learning is used to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional learning activities. Multiple districtwide measures of assessment are administered throughout the school year, from OVSD writing prompts, benchmark assessments, and the Reading Inventory. These results are used by classroom teachers to help guide classroom instruction and the effectiveness of their lessons.
Mesa View teachers understand that there is a need to differentiate classroom instruction, activities, and homework, based upon the needs of the student. Clear expectations for purposeful and meaningful homework is highly valued. While using data to assess their effectiveness, teachers continue to demonstrate a high ratio of students being engaged in the meaningful text, dialogue, and analysis of their work. Through a monthly curriculum meeting and professional development, curriculum leaders provide teachers with an opportunity to be reflective in their classroom practice. English Language Learners are monitored through an English Language Development class, by creating and setting goals with their classroom teachers to show growth in the Reading Inventory assessment. Teachers work closely with their students to help them achieve their goal of becoming reassigned.
Results of the Model Program/Practice
Mesa View’s teachers and staff have made a strong commitment to building a connective culture for all learners. Their passion for maintaining high behavioral and academic standards has been an integral part of Mesa View’s success. Numerous contributions have made a collective impact in building a positive schoolwide culture. These include: the positive strategic implementation of PBIS lessons; trained and supported student mentors through WEB and Associated Student Body (ASB); increased opportunities for all learners to be involved in sports, clubs, and electives; and staff leadership that is dedicated to building sustainable systems. Mesa View continues to have a visible positive culture and, as a result, there has been a consistent decrease in student suspension. According to the 2018 California School Dashboard, there was .6% decline in the suspension rate and a 1% decline in schoolwide Chronic Absenteeism.
There has been consistent schoolwide growth in student performance on the Smarter Balanced assessment. In 2018, 73% of the students were proficient in the areas of English Language Arts, and 69% of Mesa View students were proficient in the area of mathematics. According to the 2018 California School Dashboard, in the area of English Language Arts, Mesa View is 62.5 points above standard. In the area of mathematics, Mesa View is 51.3 points above standard, which is an increase of 4.9 points.
Mesa View staff proudly recognizes the need to differentiate to meet the needs of all learners through academic and behavioral supports. It is a priority to influence all students by living out our school vision statement: Through innovation and collaboration, Mesa View scholars will be lifelong learners who take pride in their relationships, community, and success at school. Mesa View students continue to meet and exceed standards as a result of the shared partnership between a dedicated staff, PTSO, community, District personnel, Superintendent and Board of Trustees.