School Learning Plan
Cedar Park develops life-long learners and global citizens who recognize the
value of service to their own learning, their community, and the world.
The story of Cedar Park Middle School for the 2022-2023 is about reconnecting and belonging. Like most schools in the United States and Oregon, our staff, students, families, and community are working to reimagine how schools function after the pandemic.
We, like most middle schools, struggled to understand and best address student behavior last year. One of the reasons was a result of a detachment from families and parents. Where we used to get 40+ parents at a meeting with the principal, we usually had 1 or 2 parents show up. We also talked to student groups about the reasons for the change, and we heard that they didn't feel a sense of belonging, connection, or ownership in the school.
Cedar Park is an (MYP School) International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme School. The staff at Cedar Park is very collaborative, as MYP has embedded that as part of our professional culture. Traditionally, teachers were given their standard plan time each day, and every other day included collaboration time for them to work with their interdisciplinary teams. The new Common Middle School Schedule has made it difficult. The decrease in student enrollment also forces most teachers to teach more than one "prep." Collaboration for one grade/content area is a challenge. We are working to find times and opportunities to establish connection, continuity, and collective efficacy.Additionally, prior to the new schedule, core teachers built relationships and gave impactful feedback to 90+ students. We are adjusting to an increase that has some teachers with 180+ students.
Collaboration is part of best practice for all teachers. All credible research has shown that it results in better professional practice and student achievement. Cedar Park is working to find opportunities to make that happen. Cedar Park hosts two specialized special education programs: the Emotional Growth Classroom (EGC) and the Structured Routines Classroom (SRC). The EGC students are mainstreamed into general education classes for all the core content academics. The SRC students access core content and elective classes on an individualized basis. Cedar Park and our students are better for having these programs on our campus and in our classrooms.
Cedar Park is committed to equity and access to rigor for every student, and we honor this commitment by offering an accelerated math program for all students. The leveled sequence for math is: math 6/7, math 7/8, AGS 1. Students are allowed to test for advancement beyond this sequence when entering 6th grade and 8th grade, and we partner with our high schools to enroll students in the retrospective high school courses as needed.
Offering access to rigorous academics has been the foundation of Cedar Park for many years - this is the primary tenet of being an MYP school. We work every day to collaborate and plan for rigorous, engaging classroom learning. Like all schools, we are learning what our students need academically, post-pandemic.
Our goals and professional learning are focused on differentiation and making learning visible for all our students. We cannot "teach to where they are," if we do not know "where" our students are. In that respect, our entire staff is engaged in 1 of 2 book studies, each focusing on instructional strategies and differentiation in the classroom. We are committed to engaging with students at their academic need/level.
School Climate and Culture
Our school has a long history of generational students. We have grandchildren and children of former students. We have countless former students employed by the district, and we have countless teachers who have worked at Cedar at some point in their careers. We have a joke on staff that, “All roads lead to Cedar,” because in many conversations you may have in the community, someone knows someone who worked at/attended/or spent time at Cedar Park in some capacity. This large community connection also means that we have a lot of community traditions and community involvement. We relish the community involvement and presence on our campus every day.
Our community involvement and school culture means that when we do have a tragedy or challenging event happen at school, the entire staff is ready to support families and students. We have revamped our advisory classes to focus on student social-emotional learning, and every advisory class participates in the same learning. Every student hears the same message about resilience, self-care, emotional awareness, stress management, etc.
Equity Area of Focus:
Equity focused work must be part of all our leadership and staff work.
We will see a decline in the disproportionality of student behavior discipline as measured by our discipline data in Synergy.
1. Admin will host empathy interviews with students and families struggling with school-appropriate behaviors, attendance, tardies, and ditching class.
2. Admin will host student focus groups to engage in listening to students and soliciting their ideas about how to address student behavior.
Academic Excellence Area of Focus:
Differentiation must be present in all classrooms for all students.
Academic Excellence Goal:
All classrooms will utilize differentiation strategies to address student learning needs and academic progress as evidenced through administrator observations and teacher reports.
1. Staff will engage in choice book study that engages them to learn and implement differentiation and scaffolding practices.
2. Staff will construct one PGG goal that relates to differentiation and/or instructional scaffolding.
Identity Area of Focus:
Students must feel seen, heard, and represented throughout our school and classrooms.
Students will report they have at least one adult they trust, and/or they feel culturally represented in the school, and/or feel their voice of experience is heard or valued as represented on student surveys.
1. Students will engage in a pre/post survey related to their perceived identity in the school.
2. Admin will engage with student focus groups to learn about student experience and make adjustments in policy and practice.
a. Student feedback will be shared with staff.
3. Student affinity groups will be established to meet throughout the year to gain additional insights into student experience.