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HAWTHORNE BROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL

As principal of the Hawthorne Brook Middle School, I am honored to be able to present my second annual report.

1998-1999 is Hawthorne Brook's second year of involvement with middle school organization. The focal point of our school is the core academic team, which is comprised of an English, a mathematics, a science, and a social studies teacher. At the sixth grade level our one hundred and eighty five students have been assigned to two core academic teams. Our seventh grade, consisting of two hundred and thirteen students, and our eighth grade, made up of two hundred and forty-nine students have each been organized into two core teams with four teachers and one core team with two teachers. Hawthorne students follow a core academic schedule, which includes English, mathematics, social studies, and science, foreign language, and daily classes in art, music, health, physical education, or computers.

This core-teaming concept continues to have many positive implications for student learning. The teaching teams meet daily to discuss student issues and student curriculum. At these sessions, ideas are shared and cross-curricular work, such as collaboration between a mathematics and science teacher, is accomplished. In addition, teachers are able to coordinate testing, long-range projects and homework so that students are not overwhelmed by conflicting deadlines or too heavy a workload.

The most important aspects of teaming are the positive effects it has on our students. During common planning time, insights into individual student learning styles and motivations are shared by parents, by counselors, and by other teachers. This shared knowledge allows teachers to come to know each of their students as individuals and as learners, and helps them to meet student needs more effectively. Students, in turn, identify strongly with their team and have formed strong bonds with their teachers and with each other. The strength of these teacher-to-student, and student-to-student relationships has had a powerful effect on the atmosphere of our school.

This is the second year that all of our students have either a French or a Spanish class as a daily part of their schedule. In grade six, all of our students are assigned to exploratory classes in either Spanish or French. In anticipation of the two-year commitment beginning in grade seven, they receive instruction twice a week in Spanish for one half of the year and in French for the remainder of the year.

Hawthorne Brook has a total student population of six hundred and thirty-seven students in three grades, sixth, seventh and eighth. Five hundred and thirty-six are residents of Townsend, five students are school choice students, and the remaining ninety-six are seventh and eighth grade students from Ashby. The staff numbers sixty-nine. This includes all full-time and part-time instructional and non-instructional staff.

A great deal of work has been done to align our academic disciplines to the State Curriculum Frameworks, which was mandated by the Education Reform Act of 1993. This work has resulted in written curricula in science, English/language arts, mathematics, and social studies that are well-constructed, sequential guides to student learning. This alignment was tested this past spring when our eighth graders were administered the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) examinations. The results of this testing, received in mid December, were encouraging. Hawthorne's performance placed it in the top third of middle schools in the state. However, there is always room for improvement. So, we still have a great deal of work to do in terms of critically evaluating our results and making the needed changes in what we teach to better meet the needs of our students.

Students and teachers have achieved many successes during the past year. Our students are motivated and work hard to achieve. Each quarter the honor roll is comprised of more than one third of our student body. Eight members from the band and chorus achieved district-level status. At present three members of our faculty are involved in CAGS programs and three are still working toward Master's degrees. Last May three of our teachers earned Master's degrees in their fields. Many members of our teaching staff are involved in curriculum initiatives at the district and state level. One of Hawthorne's teachers worked on scoring MCAS tests during the summer and one of our school's science teachers is involved in science education at the state and national level. One of the most impressive accomplishments of the Hawthorne faculty is their dedication to their students. Despite the demands of their professional and family commitments, they make themselves available to students whenever they are needed. Teachers willingly spend time with their students both before and after school so that their students can achieve success in the classroom.

Our students have opportunities to participate in activities beyond the classroom. One hundred and twenty students are members of our extraordinary band program. In addition, our school chorus has grown from eight to forty since last school year. At the end of the school day, all students can become involved in intramural sports activities or enrichment activities. Every student in good academic and behavioral standing can be a member of the cross-country team or try out to be a member of the boys' or girls' basketball teams. Student council, the drama club, the ski program, the yearbook committee, the photography club, the homework club are school-supported organizations which encourage student involvement beyond the school day. The sixth grade participates in the Stone Environmental School Program. Our students travel to Maine for four days and become involved in a wealth of inquiry-based, "hands-on" activities. This program is scheduled for June 1999. Eighty-six of our eighth grade students will have the opportunity to travel to Washington D. C. This trip is also planned to take place in June.

This past year each classroom at Hawthorne Brook was equipped with at least one computer. In addition, our computer lab was enlarged and further equipped. Our students' and teachers' abilities to utilize technology in their work continues to be enhanced as more technological opportunities are made available to them.

On behalf of the staff, students and parents of the Hawthorne Brook Middle School, I would like to thank the residents of Townsend, Mr. James W. McCormick, the Superintendent of Schools, and the North Middlesex Regional School Committee for their continued support of Hawthorne Brook. As the second year principal of the Hawthorne Brook Middle School, I have inherited the leadership of a school which is rich in tradition and which is treasured by the community. It is my sincere desire to continue to work with students, teachers, and parents, to attain the highest standard of excellence in educational programming so that all who attend Hawthorne Brook Middle School will enjoy future success in high school and beyond.