Fannie Lou Hamer Middle School

Grades 6-8
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What’s Special

Warm and nurturing with clear strategies for learning

The Downside

Struggles with low test scores

Our Review

Fannie Lou Hamer Middle School is a nurturing school, located on the brightly colored fifth floor of the CS 66 elementary school building. Like its sister school, Fannie Lou Hamer High School, Fannie Lou Middle is a haven of safety and thoughtful academics in an otherwise troubled district.

While students still take state exams, the school uses portfolios to judge students by the work they perform and assemble over the school year in the four major subjects. Teachers emphasize real world scenarios to improve analytical thinking, rather than rote memorization.

The school has built its reputation by working well with children who enter 6th grade with weak academic skills. Most students come into 6thgrade on a 3rd-or 4th-grade academic level,says Principal Lorraine Chanon. The school assesses students three times a year and has success in moving them forward two grade levels per year with strong supports in place. Many classes have two teachers, all of whom receive training to implement the high level group work that has become a hallmark of the school. Despite the gains students make, however, test scores remain low.

In a 7th-grade English class, students during our visit completed a literary exercise using characters fromCharlie and The Chocolate Factory. Students selected which character they wanted to study in depth and discuss. Then all of the students grouped according to character (all Charlies in one group) to share notes and discuss using their six-inch (or quiet) voices.Rather than grouping students by ability level, teachers group students by task, making sure that everyone is exposed to projects that they can do confidently and other projects that are more challenging.

After a two-minute transition of built-in talk-time (one of the many special interventions the school has implemented to increase focus), a 6th-grade class we observed took out their books, started their Do Now task and stayed on task. The social studies class was studying the structure of Ancient Egyptian society, and the teacher asked, What was special about Ramses? Engaged students raised their hands and one young lady noted that he was mentioned in both religion and history as a god.

By 8th-grade, students have timed Do Now assignments with a clock on the SMART Board counting down. On our visit, the teacher read an excerpt from the bookSoldabout human trafficking. Students had to select the part of the main characters life in which they believe she was happiestbefore, during or after sex slavery. Each group listened to the others point of view, written or oral under timed response. All of these exercises create a diverse portfolio of student knowledge. An 8th-grade teacher shared, Students get to be creative [in response to lessons] instead of just feeding [teachers] answers. When I was a student, if I had a test on Monday, the information was gone by Thursday. These kids remember longer.

In order to encourage higher learning, the 7th-and 8th-grade classrooms are named after universities that teachers attended, and the 6th-grade classes are named after high schools. The 6th-and 7th-graders transition by class in guided lines, but 8th-graders are free to transition to class independently and have lockers in preparation for high school.There are small libraries in every class, and the school has its owngym on the floor.

One student told us, I like it here, its safe. That impression is fueled by a supportive staff and a strong mediation process that empowers students to voice their emotions in a healthy way. When a student has a problem he can write it down, take it to an advisor and say he wants it mediated. It doesnt matter how small or large the infraction; the adults are very responsive. Students who first came to the school expecting to resolve issues with their fists, quickly adapt to these tactics because they know both sides will be heard and the mediation is a no blame environment.

Special education: The school is very welcoming of special education students with nearly 24 percent receiving services. Nearly 18 percent of students are English language learners, and most classes areco-teaching classes.SETSSis also offered.

After school: Middle school students and high school students can partake in an array of activities including archery, cooking and fitness. Doors stay open until 6 pm.

Admissions: District 12 choice school. About 25 percent of new students come from CS 66.(Jacquie Wayans, February 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
272
Asian
1.1%
Black
25.4%
Hispanic
71.0%
White
2.2%
Other
0.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
79%
Students with disabilities
25%
English language learners
16%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with PS 66
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
101%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
23%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
71%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
58%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
77%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
25%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
10.8
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
72%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
91%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
73%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
77%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
72%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
85%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
6%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
14%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
57%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
58%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
55%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
90%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
12%
14% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for ICT students
1.71
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.79
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.78
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.99
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
64%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
86%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
83%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
82%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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