School Narrative from 2012 NJ School Performance Report:
The Manchester Township Middle School has the philosophy “to provide its students with an exemplary education which takes into account the unique needs of the student-aged population.” It is also the goal of the Middle School to “foster a strong partnership between the school and community.” There are a variety of methods used to achieve these goals.
The Middle School offers every student a package with experiences in a variety of programs. Examples of these programs include Art, Music, foreign languages, Technology applications, and Home Economics. Other activities included during this time are Chorus, Band and Media Center programs.
The Middle School has a master schedule with a nine period day. Classes are scheduled in either single or double block periods. Single classes are 40 minutes in length; double classes are 80 minutes. This schedule allows for more time in Mathematics and Language Arts classes. All teachers are highly qualified in their specific teaching areas and instruction is very flexible and successful.
Throughout the year, teaching staff members use various instructional techniques. The students’ different learning modalities are considered as varied strategies are utilized. Examples of differentiated instruction include active student participation, cooperative group learning and individualized instruction. Every teacher seeks to create a rich learning classroom environment.Every student also has a flex period and an organizational period built into his or her schedule. These are periods during which students may receive individualized assistance from a teacher with material in a class. It is also a time during which students are encouraged to organize materials needed to be successful for school.
Each teacher has a scheduled planning period. This period allows teachers to meet, plan lessons, share ideas and discuss student concerns. Essentially, professional learning communities have been created. This also allows an opportunity for parents to meet and conference with teachers.
Assessment methods are important to any school and the Manchester Middle School employs a variety of these methods. Differentiated instruction and both formative and summative assessments are ongoing. Examples include tests, quizzes, projects, class participation opportunities, consideration of effort, and portfolio writing assignments. Standardized tests are also used at the Middle School. Students in grades six through eight will be assessed through the use of the NJ ASK 6, 7, and 8 tests. These standardized tests are administered in the spring. The Middle School closely examines the results of the test and this helps determine which students may require skills assistance or conversely, those who may benefit from placement in an honors program. The Middle School also uses a computer program titled Core K-12. A Pre/Post-Core K-12 Test is given in Language Arts and Mathematics. These tests are administered during the fall/winter months. Teachers also have the opportunity to create tests throughout the year and use as Benchmark assessments. Grade and content level teachers also create tests together and track student progress. Data from these assessments are used to assist instruction.
Parental involvement is an important component of our school philosophy. PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) meetings are held. During PAC meetings, parents receive information concerning school programs and curriculum. Parents are encouraged to share ideas and suggestions.
The Middle School provides guidance counselors who assist students in their everyday school lives. The Stand By Me Day (annual) program assists students in developing their abilities to make correct choices when faced with tolerance, drug and alcohol decisions. Students also participate in a mediation program sponsored through the Guidance Department. The mediation program includes conflict resolution and an anti-bullying program, both of which have been successful.
Manchester Middle School students are offered extra-curricular activities. Many clubs, academic enrichment programs, athletic programs, and co-curricular programs are offered. Included are Project B.O.O.S.T. and a Homework Help program. Project B.O.O.S.T. (Better outcome on Standardized Tests) is a program offered to Basic Skills students. The program is designed to offer extra help in language arts and math. The Homework Help program assists students with completing homework afterschool. The Middle School also offered a summer enrichment program again this past summer. This program is for students having academic difficulty and assists students educationally as they transition to the new school year. The Middle School also offered a summer transition program (Steppin’ Up) for elementary students requiring academic assistance as they proceeded from elementary school to the Middle School. The Middle School has a reading program entitled STARS. This class is offered to students in grades six through eight and is a supplemental reading program to maximize the benefits of the Language Arts classes.
The Middle School is also utilizing “Study Island.” “Study Island” is a web-based tutorial program that has been proven to elevate test scores. Students can access the website at school and at home. The website offers questions respective to an individual student’s testing grade and provides work on the same level as the work found on the state test. It is an exciting program which students enjoy.
The following highly-regarded programs are also in place at the Middle School:
Our school like everything else has experienced many changes over the years. In 1992, with the opening of a new elementary school (MTES) we said good-bye to the fifth grades and became more of a true Middle School, housing grades six through eight.
Downsizing at the Lakehurst Naval base, which is in our back yard, changed our make-up from a sizeable transient population to a more settled one, allowing families to utilize the entire school system and our staff to enjoy the siblings of students they remember fondly.
In 2005, a new 18-classroom wing was opened, featuring an additional computer lab and science lab classrooms. The cafeteria and media center were also renovated.
Today our student population numbers around 700 with a staff of 75, composed of administrators, teachers, and support staff. We are proud to offer our students a complete, well-rounded education.