School Spotlight: Maple Grove Middle School
Maple Grove Middle School is the largest of four middle schools in the Osseo School District. But the school has a unique system to make sure students get personalized attention.
Lisa Hartman has been principal at the school for five years. Two years ago she helped to craft a new school curriculum.
“Threw everything away, and we started over,” said Hartman. “We said ‘what do we really need to do to help kids?'”
There are more than 1,700 children enrolled at the school. In order to give students a more personalized education, they broke the curriculum down into four components. The first assigns students a core team of teachers.
“We have a math, science, social studies and a English language arts teacher that share the same 130 kids,” explained Hartman.
There are 12 core teams, four in each grade levels. All of the teams are named after world landmarks. Educators say this method allows them to better engage with students.
“I have connections with these students, these students come to me if they have an issue, if they have a problem, said eighth-grade science teacher Emily Sevenz.
Teachers say the key is to make students interested in learning. One eighth-grade science class built pyramids made out of large Legos. The goal is to try to cover up a chair.
“It’s a great team building activity, we have lots of friends, and you get to learn new things, like what Legos do,” said student Halley Imirit.
Other concepts build readiness, school pride
The second concept is called advisory and flex time. Students build extra time into their day where they do activities around career and college readiness.
“Students have done amazing things over the last couple of years,” replied social studies teacher Mike Herdan. “They’ve networked with companies outside of the school, we’ve had students work with 3M, YMCA, and Red Wing shoes.”
Students also practice something called the “Circle of Power and Respect” or CPR. The purpose is to build relationships. Students put their desks in a circle, so they can talk face-to face and better communicate. And the connections are working. Research shows more students feel safe and comfortable at school.
“We have seen a big decrease in the number of reports of bullying,” said principal Hartman.
The third concept focuses around rigorous instruction. Students are challenged at the appropriate level for that child. While the fourth concept allows students to showcase their Mustang pride, by participating in clubs and sports.