There have been some fundamental changes to the atmosphere at Paducah Middle. The implementation of “The Leader in Me” program has provided a framework to empower students to help them take charge of their own learning as they learn leadership and life skills. The celebration of “All Time Bests” on an individual, classroom, and school-wide level is encouraging students to strive for continuous, incremental improvement. As they see their own growth, they develop a growth mindset. They begin to believe that intelligence is not fixed, but can be developed. For them school can be an exciting place because it gives them the chance to learn and grow.
Another feature that has contributed to the growth in average attendance at Paducah Middle is in the area of academics. More specifically, we are trying to give students opportunities to accelerate their learning. For instance, eighth grade students can take Spanish 1. Students who want to accelerate in math can take Geometry at PTHS their eighth grade year. This has a dual benefit. It offers more of a challenge to those students who are ready for it, and since they are earning high school credits, it frees up room in their schedule once they get to PTHS so they can take more electives.
A final feature that has contributed to the growth in average attendance at Paducah Middle is extra-curriculars. Like we noted in our cover story on the Paducah Middle band in the last issue of the Blue Line, 44% of the students at Paducah Middle are involved in band or orchestra. Twenty-one members of the Paducah Middle speech team advanced to the state speech tournament. Eleven members of our academic team recently participated in the Governor’s Cup state academic tournament.
Paducah Middle has gone beyond the traditional extra-curricular offerings this year however, and has required that every student be part of a club and that every adult sponsor a club. As a result, Paducah Middle offers clubs ranging from checkers to frog dissection. This gives our students more opportunities to explore areas of interest and develop deeper relationships with our faculty and staff.
What has contributed to the rise in attendance at Paducah Middle? If you ask me, the key causes are positive changes in atmosphere, academics, and extra-curriculars. But there’s one more critical element that has fueled the increase in attendance that is the “oxygen” that sustains everything else. We have dedicated teachers that are focused on meeting their students where they are, and we have an innovative and progressive thinking leadership that not only sees what is right in front of them but also keeps on eye on the horizon to see what opportunities are there to continue the mission of knowing each and every child by name and need so that they are “Tilghman ready”.