Middle school targets relationships, relevance

Indian Hill Middle School is promoting the 3 Rs of education. However, in this case, the reference isn’t to “reading, writing and arithmetic.”

It’s referring to “rigor, relevance and relationships.”

Indian Hill Middle School Principal Josh Kauffman and Assistance Principal Bridgette Ridley made a presentation to the Board of Education during the January board meeting.

Kauffman started the presentation by providing each board member with a Lego block.

The Lego corporation is successful because it focuses on “the brick.” It’s a commitment to focusing on the brick, a business practice that has been successful for the company, he said.

Similarly, the middle school has a focus, and it’s the student, he said, adding that each teacher has been given a Lego brick to remind them of their mission to serve the students.

“It’s a daily reminder, something tactile,” said Kauffman.

Ridley then proceeded to discuss “rigor” in the school, which involves training in a specific type of discipline in the school.

“(We) continue to monitor learning, growth and academic progress,” said Ridley, adding that this year a focus is also on implementing Common Core Standards required by the state.

Ridley also discussed “relationships,” citing the importance of activities such as Teacher Appreciation Week and the recent “No Shave November” in which the male staff at the school were encouraged to grow beards to raise money for charity.

This initiative raised more than $4,000 for leukemia research, according to Ridley.

She said as part of these relationships, the retention of students, who may choose to attend a different school, is essential.

“Loss of students continues to decrease,” she said.

The discussion then proceeded to the topic of “relevance.”

Kauffman said an activity tied into this is called “A Day of Brave Ideas.” This is a day of brainstorming ways to be more effective, according to Kauffman.

Kauffman said there is a continuous push for teacher leadership and engaging in professional development.

He said this is reflected in the amount of participation Indian Hill Middle School teachers have had in state and national conferences.

Kauffman concluded the presentation by detailing the Bring Your Own Technology initiative, in which students are encouraged to bring their own laptops or computer tablets, to school.

This has been very successful, said Kauffman.

“It’s been fun and interesting to watch your growth the last couple of years,” said Superintendent Mark Miles referring to the middle school.

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