Mountain Valley Middle School (RSU 10) – A Safe Place To Learn

Submitted by Cheryl Gurney, Teacher/Assistant Principal at Mountain Valley Middle School

Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico, is part of Regional School Unit #10, in the picturesque foothills of western Maine. At Mountain Valley Middle School, we strive to provide all students with a safe place to learn where all staff and students follow a code to be respectful, act responsibly, and do what is right, even when no one is watching. We pride ourselves on knowing where we need to grow and we all work toward becoming better students, teachers and learners. In particular, we have worked hard to provide our students with the opportunities to grow in the areas of academics and behavior. By using a Multi-Tiered Response to Intervention Approach we have been able to help our students to develop scholastically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally.

To promote academic growth, Mountain Valley Middle School staff and students participate in a wide variety of activities and instructional opportunities that are designed to allow learners to fill in gaps and build on foundational skills. Within the first tier of supports, all students participate in an intervention period that is built into the daily schedule four days per week. We call this our Hawks SOAR period which stands for Student Opportunities to Aim for Results. Students receive focused instruction on topics and concepts in mathematics and literacy that have been determined to be weaknesses through disaggregation of EmpowerMe and NWEA data. Students are grouped and re-grouped according to their needs.When they have mastered specific concepts and they move onto new topics to begin the process again. Comparisons of recent NWEA data have shown very promising growth in both reading and mathematics.

Over the last five years, Mountain Valley Middle School has implemented Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and in particular we have introduced a Bully Prevention program called Stop, Walk and Talk. When a student has a conflict with another student they are encouraged to tell that person to STOP. This warns the other person they are bothering someone and gives them the opportunity to change their behavior. If the behavior does not
change the offended student is asked to WALK away and TALK to the nearest adult to attain help in navigating the situation. The adult then steps into the situation and helps the students to work through the conflict. This program has helped Mountain Valley Middle School students to have a voice and office discipline rates have dropped significantly.

The staff and students at Mountain Valley Middle School are proud to be members of this community! We strive to have a growth mindset and continue to set goals and move toward their attainment. Go Hawks!