Principal Joey Jones, who is beginning his fifth year as principal of Robert Frost Middle, outlined three priorities for the coming year: more literacy, more technology and more student involvement in the learning process.
The first goal is to increase the emphasis on reading and writing throughout the curriculum. The second goal is to increase the use of technology to enhance the teaching and learning process. This year, after school “labs” in reading, writing and math utilize a new technology called “Turning Point,” a wireless remote control response system that allows the class to respond to the teacher’s questions via remote control.
“Within seconds, teachers can put a graph of how the students responded,” said Jones. “It’s good for checking for understanding and immediate feedback.”
Finally, Jones wants to get students involved as key stakeholders in the education process. The Baldrige-guided School Improvement Process, which was instituted by the school system four years ago, is a management system that relies in part on involvement from faculty, staff and the students themselves for success. For example, teachers develop mission statements with the collaboration of their students. Jones said that the students seem to like the approach.
“I get positive feedback from students on a daily basis,” he said. “They enjoy coming to school, their teachers and the atmosphere here at Frost.”
Teachers pay homage to the Capitol by having all eighth-graders at Robert Frost take part in a mock Congressional hearing. Groups of students research assigned topics and present their findings before volunteer judges, who are made up of parents and community members. The project is designed to simulate lobbying for a bill before Congress.
Jones said that Frost Middle has seen improvement on the Maryland State Assessments (MSAs) among the student body as a whole as well as among subgroups of at-risk students. He praised faculty and staff for helping to make inroads into closing the achievement gap.
Through the MSA Advisory Program, each student who scores below proficient on the state tests is assigned to a staff member who will mentor them and provide academic resources. In addition to conventional after school clubs, low-scoring students are also directed toward MSA intervention programs after the school day ends. In addition, the Black Saga Competition is an extracurricular that teaches and quizzes students about African-American history. Students who perform well in the jeopardy-like games can win scholarships to Montgomery College that they can redeem after graduating from high school.
MARGIE HALEM of Rockville is beginning her second year as PTA president of Robert Frost Middle School. She has worked for the PTA as a classroom volunteer and fundraiser, and she has three sons, two at Wootton High and an eighth-grader at Robert Frost.
The school’s PTA sponsors dances for students as well as advanced language classes in Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese. They also assist in the November Turkey Trot and a food drive for the city of Rockville. In addition, the annual Day of Giving features a blood drive and donations of used clothing, toys, books, CDs and games.
Last year, the PTA raised $1,500 for the softball field outside Wootton High, which Robert Frost shares. Halem’s fundraising goals this year include money for full-time staff and more state-of-the-art programs in the computer lab, and possibly a new sign in front of the school. Fundraising projects will include the “Box Tops for Education” campaign, a book fair at Barnes & Noble (the PTA receives 15 percent of the proceeds), and Potomac Pizza Night at the Traville location the first Monday night of every month (the PTA receives 20 percent of proceeds).
<b>Robert Frost Middle Calendar</b>
* Parent Open House – Oct. 9
* Principal’s Parent Breakfast – Oct. 13, 7:15 a.m.
* Eighth-Grade Dance – Oct. 13, 7:30-9 p.m.
* Seventh-Grade Dance – Oct. 27, 7:30-9 p.m.
* Sixth-Grade Dance – Nov. 3, 7:30-9 p.m.
* Turkey Trot – Nov. 16
* Talent Show Performance – Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
* Jazz Festival – Dec. 9
* Choral Concert – Dec. 19