Submitted by Mark Turner, Principal of Caravel Middle School in RSU 87
In RSU 87 we work to provide the best possible educational experience to the students in our community. We support staff development in order to help our staff be as effective as possible in their position(s) and be responsive to students. We use a student-centered decision making model so that our top priority is always what is best for our students.
We have many supports built in for staff. All teachers are required to get a masters degree within seven years of employment, with all expenses covered by the district. Also, we build in five early release days annually to focus solely on professional development. This work coincides with weekly Professional Learning Community time that all teachers participate in. Our teacher evaluation model encourages growth through goal setting so that each teacher makes individual gains as they are ready for improvement. Our small district size also allows for many built in structures including literacy coaches in our elementary schools and a teaching math coach at the middle school. This allows us to offer coursework and bring in structured outside resources for staff in order to make good instruction a priority for all employees of our school district.
For students, everything starts with creating a positive culture where students can thrive. We use a middle level philosophy to educate the whole student and work to help our students become as well rounded as possible. We also offer many clubs, sports, and after school activities so that students have several opportunities to try new things and take healthy risks.
Our small size lends us opportunities to offer many support programs for students so that we can provide timely and structured interventions on a daily basis. These supports include access to outside counseling services and a connection with local agencies to support struggling families.
We are about relationships in RSU 87 and helping everyone achieve individual success. We strive to create positive relationships between staff and students, as well as amongst staff.
Also, we reach out to make those same positive connections with parents and the community to ensure that our school remains strong as the center of our community. We accomplish this work through many different avenues including online resources, open houses and other special events, as well as prioritizing the use of our facility to supporting our community.