The Mini-School Concept
The middle school years are an important time in the development of students. But, it is also a time of major change, which can be difficult for students and parents. Students are no longer in a self-contained classroom with just one teacher like they were in elementary school. Students are expected to show a higher level of maturity and responsibility now that they are in middle school. These changes will be even more noticeable as the student progresses to high school.
To provide a good transition from elementary to high school, the middle schools in Rutherford County have adopted the mini-school concept.
Each large middle school is divided into teams. These teams include one teacher each in math, social studies and science and two in language arts and have adjacent classrooms. Approximately 150 students are assigned to each mini school. This creates a “school within a school” and fosters a sense of community because the students and teachers have the chance to get to know one another in a small setting.
Interacting with a small group of students ensures that fewer students will go unnoticed. Teachers are more aware of changes in student behavior and can offer assistance when needed. Students usually come to know at least one adult well in this environment. This helps students in times of need or personal trauma feel confidant approaching an adult for assistance.
Exploratory courses are offered in addition to the core academic subjects. These exploratory courses emphasize career opportunities and enable the student to discover his or her particular talents and interests. Exploratory classes include Teen Living, Health, Physical Education, Art, General Music, Keyboarding and Technology Education. By offering a broad variety of classes, students have the opportunity for a well-rounded education.
The mini-school concept provides an excellent environment for developing academic learning and personal growth. Rutherford County Schools believes the social, physical and psychological needs of the middle school student are best met in the mini-school system rather than the departmentalized configuration often used by junior high and high schools.