‘The House Concept’
Officials hope for small school feel in big new MCMS
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Principal Matt Boggs joked with the county school board Tuesday, saying that he might need to get some sort of scooter to motor his way around the large new Madison County Middle School set to open off Hwy. 172 at Madico Park in the fall.
Boggs may have some lengthy walks in the big new MCMS building. But at least students shouldn’t have too far to walk to their classrooms, since the new middle school will divide nearly 1,100 students into three “mini schools.”
Boggs gave a brief presentation to the board Tuesday, addressing some of the plans for the new middle school. He said a group of teachers and parents met with a consultant to discuss MCMS planning. And they approved “The House Concept,” a plan for keeping a sense of community among students and teachers.
Boggs noted that elementary students have long had to make that leap “from small community schools where everyone knows everyone’s name” to the big middle school, which can be somewhat impersonal.
“We wanted to keep that personal touch,” said Boggs. “So we came up with the house concept.”
Under the house concept plan, three wings will include mini-middle schools, with sixth, seventh and eighth graders in each wing. Those wings will be named “1100, 1200 and 1300.” Middle school students will have the same assistant principal, counselor and secretary during each of their three years in middle school. They will also have an opportunity to develop closer relationships with teachers during their time at MCMS, since they will have more interaction with those instructors in the smaller environment.
While the mini-school approach is intended to give kids a small school feel, MCMS won’t be lacking in big school amenities. Boggs noted that the facility includes new technology and family and consumer science classes. He said there will be improved technology in the classrooms, a state of the art media center, a large cafeteria with an open common space and “the most beautiful middle school gym” he’s ever seen.
“This is a place we want the entire county to be proud of,” said Boggs, thanking the school system administrators and school board for making the new school a reality.
In other business Tuesday, the board recognized several students for special achievements (see next week’s issue for photos). The board heard from Superintendent Dr. Mitch McGhee, who said the school system received “no audit findings,” or an all clear report, on its 2007 audit. He noted the financial difficulties the school system faced during the early part of the decade and praised the work of assistant superintendent Allen McCannon and former superintendent Keith Cowne in getting the school’s finances in order.
McGhee reported that the ongoing community strategic planning process will likely continue through September or October. He said he has been very impressed with the input the schools have received from the action planning teams. The board approved academic supplements for the 2008-09 school year, with no changes from last year’s supplements, except in cases where employees changed from part-time to full-time, or vice versa. The board also agreed to hold a budget work session at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 27.