Fannie Lou Hamer Middle School
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After school arts and sports (including archery)
Low test scores
Named after a leading figure of the civil rights movement, Fannie Lou Hamer Middle School is located on the brightly colored fifth floor of a building shared with PS 66. In its extended learning time program, the middle school offers visual and performing arts, chorus, dance, sports (including archery) and academic help until 6 pm.
Unfortunately, test scores are among the lowest in the city. Most incoming 6th grade students are at least two years behind grade level in reading and math (although, like many schools, about half a dozen students are top-scorers on state exams). A school-wide effort is underway to give students opportunities to read, write and speak in every class, according to a yearly report of goals called the Comprehensive Educational Plan. Teachers work together and are mostly consistent in this practice, the Quality Review shows.
Once a day, 15-17 students are paired with one adult during advisory time. This adult is a bridge between home and school, and teens from families who speak Spanish are paired with an adviser who also speaks Spanish. Advisory groups may also visit colleges together and take an overnight trip to an environmental education center. The groups plan performances for talent shows, as well as activities for Fannie Lou Hamer Day and black/women’s history month.
The school is located in one of the poorest urban areas in the country. “Students enter the school with many factors that can create trauma and, thus, make it difficult to learn,” according to the yearly plan. Teachers receive strategies from Turnaround for Children on how to assist students impacted by poverty, drug abuse, violence and homelessness. The school has a mental health clinic and a full-time nurse.
Admissions: District 12 choice. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, June 2019)