All Hands on Deck at Mont Harmon

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Carbon School District Press Release

The Pirates of Mont Harmon Middle School are taking advantage in the next three years of a special program the state is offering to help the school improve academically and culturally.

“This program allows Mont Harmon to provide an emphasis on explicit instruction,” said Carbon School District Superintendent Steve Carlsen. “This will improve the learning experience for students at the school a great deal.”

The program provides $375,000 through the 2019 school year to make more teachers available to students, to improve academics and provide positive behavioral interventions and supports on the campus.

The program began with a three day training “boot camp” session in Moab in February which seven administrators and faculty members from the school participated in.

“It was held there to avoid interruptions while  the group worked on where the school needs to head with the program,” said Carlsen.  “The two consultants worked with them at the conference and those same two people will be with the program through its completion.”

The consultants, Jake Hinkley and Dr. Fran Miller, also gave a presentation to the Carbon Board of Education on the program and its goals on March 8. Hinkley is an education implementation specialist based in Salt Lake and Miller is a principal in Learning Forward, a group dedicated to bringing professional teaching and learning to schools worldwide. She is based in Pennsylvania.

“Seth (Allred, principal at Mont Harmon) and his team are go-getters,” said Miller during the presentation. “The plan we have here was created by the school leadership team.”

The plan was developed with the help of not only faculty, but students, parents, and others that are connected to the school.

As Miller presented the plan to the board, she also included the actions steps it would take to achieve the result they all want. The goals include:

  • Acquiring the knowledge and skills to implement high impact, research-based instructional strategies.
  • Establishing a response to intervention program using Professional Learning Communities to analyze teaching practices and student data in order to meet the personalized goals for students.
  • Move to a block schedule (for the 2016-17 school year), increase parent involvement, train staff in accepted middle school philosophies, while revising homework and grading practices to fit that philosophy.
  • A focus will be placed on developing a cooperative, inclusive culture that is non-biased and focused on learning for both students and staff.

“The result of all this will be to maximize student learning and increase student achievement,” said Miller.

Every goal includes multiple strategies and steps to make them happen. There will be a lot of assessment of students and teaching methods to improve student performance.

“One of the things we will do through the PLC’s will to have teachers learn from one another,” said Carlsen. “We have always had a congenial atmosphere at our schools, now we need to move toward a more collegial atmosphere.”

That means a school that is operated in a manner in which everyone has responsibility for what happens and can point out when things can be improved.

While the program was just proposed, Mont Harmon has already begun it by using the PRIDE  card program in which students are honored for their achievements daily, monthly and at the end of the year. Pirate PRIDE stands for Personal Responsibility, Respect, Integrity, Discipline and Engagement.

The proof of the program’s success will be based on improvement in SAGE scores at the school as well on other aspects of the schools operation.

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