Welcome to Savanna Oaks Middle School!
Savanna Oaks Middle School
Savanna Oaks Middle School is a hub of learning for a diverse student community of 500 sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Savanna Oaks provides students with an excellent educational experience using the foundation of best practices for young adolescents. The National Middle School Association states that “young people undergo more rapid and profound personal changes during the years between 10 and 15 than at any other period of their lives. Unlike the dramatic changes that parents watched in infancy, middle school students are first-hand witnesses to all the developmental changes they experience!”
The educational programs at Savanna Oaks Middle School provide experiences that foster academic learning and social/emotional growth for every scholar. With skilled staff who demonstrate their knowledge of middle level learners on a daily basis, Savanna Oaks Middle School accepts the professional challenge to identify and meet the diverse needs of each student.
2. How is the school organized?
Savanna Oaks serves scholars and families in grades six, seven and eight. Our staff works to create multiple smaller environments for students to learn within the context of the whole school. To assure this sense of being known, respected, and supported by staff, our schedule is designed to insure that staff collaborate regularly to support student learning. In addition to core content specialists, our teams include diagnostic and learning strategists to attend to students with a variety of characteristics such as English as a Second Language, disabilities in learning and other exceptionalities.
3. What is the curriculum, teaching methods used and method of student evaluation?
All students’ core classes include language arts, math, science and social studies. Encore and exploratory classes are offered in the areas of music, physical education, family and consumer education, art, world languages and technology education. Historically, we differentiated extensively in all classes, and while we continue to provide a continuum of levels of access to engage our learners, we are developing a personalized learning approach in accordance with the Verona Area Board of Education’s directives. Our intention is to meaningfully engage each learner at his or her next steps. We work to allow students to have voice and choice in activities that allow them to explore and demonstrate mastery.
Students at Savanna Oaks experience a variety of assessments. Some of these are formative to help students, teachers and families follow the progress of learning, and others are summative, demonstrating the degree to which the student has mastered the standards being assessed. Other assessments are based on goals set by the learner in partnership with teachers and often involve both self-assessment as well as feedback from teaching staff. Our district participates in the NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress, and students are evaluated in English/language arts and math in the fall, winter and spring. We also use state-directed assessments such as the WKCE and the Smarter Balance Assessment system .
4. What role do parents play in the school?
During this period of rapid growth and change, the family plays a critical role in supporting the development of adolescent scholars. Recognizing the importance of family, the Savanna Oaks Middle School seeks the counsel and support of families through regular conferencing, an interactive website, as well as online connections developed and maintained by teachers to foster parents and guardians ability to monitor learning alongside their child. Volunteer parents serve on our Site Council and contribute directly to the school’s governance. Volunteers assist in classrooms, chaperone field trips, coordinate school events and help facilitate learning for students.
5. What is special about this school?
The Savanna Oaks Middle School fosters early adolescent learning by fueling the development of every scholar. The staff at Savanna Oaks models our habits of community in respectful, engaging, safe and responsible lifelong learning in community together. In 2001, Savanna Oaks was recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals as one of the top 100 middle schools in the United States. With high standards and expectations established, the staff continues to explore ways to assist students in meeting the recognized standards and expectations. Our staff has taken a leadership role in the VASD’s development of Personalized Learning for all students with the original cohort of sixth graders during the 2013-14 school year. We followed up with incoming sixth graders in 2014-15 and expanded our innovative practices to include all students, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. We intend to ensure that all students are fully engaged and presented with challenging learning opportunities.
6. What choice options will exist for the 2014-15 school year?
The wonderful diversity in our school community brings with it many opportunities for choice at Savanna Oaks. Students may choose a variety of music electives at all grade levels. In eighth grade, students select from a menu of elective classes. There are numerous extra-curricular options open for students including student council, yearbook development, forensics, ski club and drama club. We have extracurricular athletics, drama, math meets, and fitness clubs. We also offer an after-school Ninja Academy for students to work together with the support of teaching staff, using school facilities as well as technology outside the usual school day to further their educational experience.