R-S Middle School’s original building opened in 1925 as Rutherfordton, Spindale, Ruth High School. The current eighth-grade building and gym were constructed in 1962 with the current cafeteria and library following three years later. R-S Central High School moved to a new campus in the fall of 1992. In the fall of 1993, R-S Middle opened on the old high school campus. The most recent construction on the property is the sixth-grade building erected in the mid 90s.
R-S Middle School has 26 core teachers for the 2017-18 school year. There are also seven exploratory teachers, six EC teachers, one counselor, one technology facilitator, one media coordinator, two assistant principals, and a principal. There has been a considerable amount of turnover in the past five years. Twenty-nine percent of the teachers at RS Middle have less than five years of experience.
R-S Middle School has a total enrollment of 628 students, which has been stable over the last two years. This stabilization follows a period of declining enrollment that existed from 2003-2015. The decline in student enrollment is a trend that started approximately 14 years ago when the school educated more than 1,000 students annually. Pinnacle Elementary School, Mount-Vernon Ruth Elementary, Spindale Elementary and Rutherfordton Elementary are kindergarten through fifth-grade schools that feed into R-S Middle School.
R-S Middle School’s original building opened in 1925 as Rutherfordton, Spindale, Ruth High School. The current eighth-grade building and gym were constructed in 1962 with the current cafeteria and library following three years later. R-S Central High School moved to a new campus in the fall of 1992. In the fall of 1993, R-S Middle opened on the old High School campus. The most recent construction on the property is the sixth-grade building erected in the mid 90s.
R-S Middle School has 28 core teachers for the 2019-20 school year. There are also eight exploratory teachers, four EC teachers, one counselor, one technology facilitator, one media coordinator, two assistant principals, and a principal. There has been a considerable amount of turnover in the past seven years. While only seven percent of the faculty has less than 5 years teaching experience, forty-four percent of the faculty has been working at R-S Middle School for less than five years.
R-S Middle School has a total enrollment of 653 students, which has increased over the last two years. This increase follows a period of stabilization enrollment that existed from 2015-2018. Prior to 2015, a decline in student enrollment was a trend that started approximately 16 years ago when the school educated more than 1,000 students annually. Pinnacle Elementary School, Mount-Vernon Ruth Elementary, Spindale Elementary and Rutherfordton Elementary are kindergarten through fifth-grade schools that feed into R-S Middle School.
For the 2019-20 school year, around forty percent (40%) of students come from low-income families. Approximately twenty-seven percent (27%) of students are of a minority ethnicity. Most identify themselves as African-American (13%), though an increasing number identify as multi-racial (7%). Although seven percent (7%) of the student population identifies themselves as Hispanic, less than half a percent (0.5%) are non-English-speaking students and only a few that speak English as a second language. Fourteen percent (14%) of the student population are identified as exceptional children.
R-S Middle School uses a team approach to the middle school concept. Every student has a 75-minute-long math class each day. Every student also has a 75-minute language arts class daily. Students also receive instruction in science for 75 minutes and social studies for 75 minutes throughout the school year. These core courses are reduced to 65 minutes two days each week when Intervention Time occurs for 40 minutes in the schedule. In addition to core areas, students receive instruction in two exploratory classes daily. The classes include Art, Business and Marketing, Physical Education & Health, Excel Enrichment, Band, and General Music. Band is a yearlong course while the other exploratory offerings rotate on a six weeks reporting period basis. R-S Middle School offers four courses for high school credit to advanced students. These courses include; Math I, Math II, English I, and Environmental Earth Science.
Under the Ready accountability model for North Carolina, R-S Middle School met expected growth and was assigned a grade of “C” for the 2013-14 school year. For the 2014-15 school year R-S Middle School did not met expected growth and the grade assigned dropped to a “D”. For the 2015-16 school year R-S Middle once again met growth and improved its school grade to “C”. The 2016-17, 2017-2018, 2018-2019 school years saw R-S Middle’s proficiency a maintain a “C” grade. Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students complete North Carolina End-of-Grade (EOG) assessments in reading and math. Eighth grade students also complete an EOG in science. Data for the 2013-14 through 2018-2019 school year may be found in a chart located in the supplemental material. R-S Middle School takes great pride in preparing students to be successful in high school and beyond.
All students completed Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing in the fall, winter, and spring to track academic growth in reading and math as well as identify areas for strengthening. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the data obtained from MAP will be utilized to develop student groups for WIN Groups (What I Need Now) that focus on reading and math. Students will be served in Tier 1 (Enrichment), Tier 1 (On Grade Level), Tier 2 (Below Grade Level), and Tier 3 (Significantly Below Grade Level). These groups will be served twice weekly with instruction on alternate weeks for reading and math. In addition, all eighth-grade science and Math I students complete district benchmark testing on three occasions to monitor students’ progress.
R-S Middle School is a one-to-one school with each teacher and student having an I-pad for their academic use. Each classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard. Several technology programs are used throughout the school. Freckle Education is used to support reading and math. PlayPosit, Brain Pop, Kahoot and Moby Max are other programs used throughout R-S Middle School to reach students. During the 2019-20 school year, R-S Middle will initiate a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Model regiment to help teachers understand the individual levels of their students and more appropriately meet those needs.
The effort R-S Middle School has placed on improving student performance and increasing rigor over the last several years is supported by the results of the AdvancEd Survey completed by parents in the spring of 2016. When asked, “All of my child’s teachers give work that challenges my child”, less than six percent (6%) disagreed. When responding to the question, “All of my child's teachers use a variety of teaching strategies and learning activities “, eighty seven percent (87%) responded favorably.
Beliefs and Mission
Our vision is that all students that leave R-S Middle School will be prepared for success in high school and beyond. In order to recognize our vision, the mission is that R-S Middle School, together with parents and community, will enable students to excel in a 21st-century society. Our faculty and staff believe every student who comes to R-S Middle has the ability to be successful. All stakeholders must work together to achieve our goal and provide the best educational experience possible to each student. The faculty and staff of R-S Middle School believe we live in a consistently changing society where students must learn skills to prepare them for success.
Our vision, mission, and beliefs have been developed through the School Improvement Team after careful examination of state, district and school data. These were then presented to all faculty and staff for feedback. Staff, grade level, and team meetings are opportunities where internal stakeholders have this information communicated to them for a constant consistent focus. External stakeholders have this information disseminated to them through school documents and the R-S Middle School website. The school vision and mission statements are evaluated annually when new School Improvement Team members are elected. Decisions are made based upon the vision, mission and beliefs of our school.
Desired Outcomes and Results
The School Improvement Team at R-S Middle School has worked diligently with all stakeholders to develop a shared vision for student learning.
Our team used our belief and mission statements along with state educational trends and objectives. In addition, our team examined state testing results, discipline records, parent contact logs and anecdotal evidence to arrive at goals we believe will strengthen our school and benefit student learning.
One important measure of success is the proficiency of students in the school. The state of North Carolina uses End-of Grade (EOG) testing to determine a student’s achievement level in math and language arts for all middle grades (6-8). North Carolina also uses EOG’s to assess eighth grade science.
In 2014 North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation assigning a school performance letter grade to public schools. The grading criteria has been based upon a 15-point scale since the inception of the letter grade format. Any school receiving a letter grade below ‘C” is considered “low performing”. Recently, state lawmakers made the current 15-point scale permanent beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. As a result, the school improvement team of R-S Middle has chosen to focus a school improvement goal on each academic area included in the school performance grade calculation.
Our Goal - R-S Middle School will raise overall student proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Mathematics to 63% or higher by June 30, 2020 and to 65% or higher by June 30, 2021.
During the 2013-14 school year, RS Middle School posted average percent passing scores on the EOG of 41.8% in sixth grade, 37.4% in seventh grade and 27.3% in eighth grade. For the 2014-15 school year, sixth grade rose to 46.6%, which was an increase of 4.8%. Seventh grade rose to 41.9%, which was an increase of 4.5%. Eighth grade fell to 23.7%, a decrease of 3.6% year over year. From the 2013-14 school year to the 2014-15 school year, math performance rose from 35.5% to 37.4%. During the 2015-16 school year math performance rose to 53.4% in sixth grade, an increase of 11.6% over the base year of 2013-14. Performance rose to 49.3% in seventh grade, an increase of 11.9%. Math proficiency is eighth grade jumped to 46.2%. This represented an increase of 18.9% from the 2013-14 data. During the 2016-17 school year math EOG proficiency for sixth grade was 50.5%, down slightly from the year before, but up 8.7% over the baseline year of 2013-14. Seventh grade math EOG proficiency for the 2016-17 school year was 48.4%, down 0.9% from the previous year, but up 11% points from 2013-14. Eighth grade performance continued to climb, up to 48.6%. This represented an increase of 2.6% from the previous year and 21.5% from the baseline year of 2013-14. During the 2018-19 school year math EOG proficiency for sixth grade was 65.5%, up from the year before by 8.4% and an increase of 23.7% over the baseline year of 2013-14. Seventh grade math EOG proficiency for the 2018-19 school year was 62.4%, up from the year before by 17.9% from the previous year, and an increase of 25% points from 2013-14. Eighth grade performance was 42.8%. This represented an increase of 15.7% from the previous year and an increase of 8.5% from the baseline year of 2013-14. Significant with math data in eighth grade is the fact that the data from the base line year includes all eighth grade high school math students completing the eighth grade EOG for math. In the current data, these students are not required to complete the eighth grade assessment. Our goal over the next two years is to move from 57.2% to 63% of our students’ proficient in the 2019-20 testing cycle and 65% proficient in the 2020-21 year.
Our Goal - R-S Middle School will raise student proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading at grade eight to 63% or higher by June 30, 2020 and to 65% or higher by June 30, 2021.
During the 2013-14 school year, RS Middle School posted average percent passing scores on the EOG of 56.4% in sixth grade, 56.8% in seventh grade and 49.2% in eighth grade. For the 2014-15 school year, sixth grade fell to 51.0%, which was a decrease of 5.4%. Seventh grade fell to 54.8%, which was a decrease of 5.4%. Eighth grade rose to 51.6%, an increase of 2.4% year over year. From the 2013-14 school year to the 2014-15 school year, reading performance fell from 54.1% to 52.6%, showing a decrease. During the 2015-16 school year reading performance rose to 62.6% in sixth grade, an increase of 6.2% over the base year of 2013-14. Performance finished at 55.2% in seventh grade, an increase from the previous year, but 1.6% below the baseline year of 2013-14. Reading proficiency is eighth grade finished at 49.5%, which was .3% higher than 2013-14. During the 2016-17 school year reading EOG proficiency for sixth grade was 61.2%, down slightly from the year before, but up 4.8% over the baseline year of 2013-14. Seventh grade reading EOG proficiency for the 2016-17 school year was 58.2%, up 3% from the previous year, and up 1.6% points from 2013-14. Eighth grade performance was 48.2%. This represented a drop of 1.3% from the previous year and 1% from the baseline year of 2013-14. During the 2018-19 school year reading EOG proficiency for sixth grade was 63.8%, up slightly from the year by 1.1%, but up 7.4% over the baseline year of 2013-14. Seventh grade reading EOG proficiency for the 2019-20 school year was 63.4%, up 1.9% from the previous year, and up 6.6% points from 2013-14. Eighth grade performance was 54.5%. This represented a drop of 1.6% from the previous year but a gain of 5.3% from the baseline year of 2013-14. Our goal over the next two years is to move from 60.7% to 63% of our students’ proficient in the 2019-20 testing cycle and 65% proficient in the 2020-21 year.
Our Goal - R-S Middle School will raise student proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Science at grade eight to 80% or higher by June 30, 2020 and to 83% or higher by June 30, 2021
During the 2013-14 school year, RS Middle School posted an average percent passing score on the EOG of 70.4% in eighth grade science. For the 2014-15 school year, the percent passing fell to 69.3%, which was a decrease of 1.1%. During the 2015-16 school year, EOG proficiency rose to 72.1%. For the 2016-17 school year science performance continued to climb to 76.2%. For the 2019-20 school year science performance experienced a decline to 77%, down 3.5% from the 2018-2019 year but an increase of 6.6% points from the baseline data. Our goal over the next two years is to move from 77% to 80% of our students’ proficient in the 2019-20 testing cycle and 83% proficient in the 2020-21 year.
The School Improvement Team believes student learning is the fundamental purpose for our school. The team has set aggressive but achievable goals for the next two years.
These goals will be attained through teaching a rigorous curriculum, MAP testing to monitor student progress through-out the year, collaboration among teachers and grade levels, and the expertise of the R-S Middle faculty using various programs and resources to deliver a quality education. Students have individual learning needs that require differentiation. R-S Middle provides individualization of the learning experience in a variety of ways including the use of Freckle, tutoring sessions and small group or inclusion learning opportunities. The implementation of WIN Time for the 2019-20 school year will also directly meet skill based deficits that student have in reading and/or math. R-S Middle will partner with parents and community to work together to provide positive outcomes for all students.
Analysis of Organizational and Instructional Effectiveness
Ensure all students’ equitable access to safe, modern, educational facilities and appropriate learning resources.
R-S Middle School ensures that all students are safe in a variety of ways. All teachers are trained yearly on safety measures for security and health. Our school has a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) who is on campus every day to protect and serve the students. The SRO makes daily rounds checking classrooms, hallways, cameras, parking lots, restrooms and other facilities. R-S Middle has a school crisis team that works with the principal and SRO to create a school crisis plan that is updated yearly. This plan takes into account a variety of situations and offers protocols for each to provide maximum safety should a time of crisis arise. Fire drills are conducted monthly in accordance with state law.
The school nurse is split between R-S Middle and R-S Central. She is on campus two and a half days per week to offer medical assistance to any student in need. In addition to the school nurse, two staff members are certified in CPR and first aid.
Our school and district lead the way in North Carolina with our expansive use of technology. Every student has a personal I-pad available for school use that they may also take home. In our recent AdvancED survey, over ninety-five percent (95%) of parents agreed when asked, “My child has up to date computers and technology to learn.” The one-to-one initiative is supported by a fast, highly dependable WIFI system that can enable every student to be online at the same time.
R-S Middle School has an aged facility, with the main building being 94 years old. Students often have to change buildings when moving between classes or climb sets of stairs to move to the cafeteria or gym. However, since the school is a former high school, it does have an auditorium, football stadium, and full athletic fields that many middle schools do not have. R-S Middle School is currently in a building construction process. The current timeline will see a new facility opening for the 2021-22 school year. The school will be located on property adjacent to R-S Central High School.
There are many areas that RS Middle is striving to improve. The School wants to continue to refine and improve all teachers’ skills so students receive the best education possible. As teachers learn new and innovative practices we want those ideas to spread and be shared throughout the school. R-S Middle has shown steady improvement in student outcomes as measured by EOG testing over the past seven years. However, the rate of improvement could be more rapid.
Students learn best when the school works in partnership with families to focus on positive outcomes. The more communication that R-S Middle faculty and staff have with parents and community stakeholders about learning the more successful students will be.