WATCH | LH Middle School named ‘Highly Effective School’ by Solution Tree

Lake Hamilton Middle School Principal Clint Jones, far left, comments Monday about the school achieving Highly Effective Schools Accreditation, as Lake Hamilton seventh grade teachers Kelly Chambers, center, and Danette Porter look on. (The Sentinel-Record/Brandon Smith)
Lake Hamilton Middle School Principal Clint Jones, far left, comments Monday about the school achieving Highly Effective Schools Accreditation, as Lake Hamilton seventh grade teachers Kelly Chambers, center, and Danette Porter look on. (The Sentinel-Record/Brandon Smith)

PEARCY -- Lake Hamilton Middle School has achieved the distinction of Highly Effective Schools Accreditation from Solution Tree, a leading professional learning company.

Lake Hamilton Middle School Principal Clinton Jones, who Monday night was named the new high school principal starting this summer, expressed pride in the school's achievement, emphasizing the collaborative effort of the entire staff.

"This accreditation is a reflection of the dedication and hard work of every member of our school community," Jones said.

Video not playing? Click here https://www.youtube.com/embed/nck0_Z3xHsM

The accreditation process involved a thorough examination of the school's improvement plan, which serves as a road map for enhancing student outcomes. According to Jones, the plan underwent rigorous scrutiny, with Solution Tree assessing artifacts that demonstrated the school's commitment to its goals.

Lake Hamilton seventh grade math teacher Kelly Chambers said it marks a major step forward for the school. She said it started with naming the essential standards that each student needs to learn and how to properly test them.

"We got together with our math team, our language arts teams, our content area teams, went through our standards, pulled the essential standards, what we felt students had to know before they went to the next grade," she said. "(They) could not leave our classroom without knowing."

She said from there, they went to writing proficiency scales and learning targets, unit plans, curriculum maps, and pacing guides, throughout the year.

"All of them are subject to tweaking and changing as we reflect and see necessary," she said.

Like Jones, she emphasized the collaborative nature of the endeavor, involving input from various subject area teams to ensure a comprehensive approach to curriculum development. The process directly aligns with the Professional Learning Communities at Work and the High Reliability Schools framework.

Schools that adopt the framework recognize the key to improved learning is ongoing, job-embedded professional learning for educators.

Danette Porter, a seventh-grade language arts teacher and advocate for parental involvement, emphasized the dynamic nature of the documents produced, describing them as "live, working documents" that facilitate ongoing reflection and refinement.

"That's where we built our interventions and our extensions, so that we're constantly working with the students who are low or are struggling," Porter said.

"But we're also pushing those students who are already achieving or overachieving, and extending their learning throughout the process as well. We have to have artifacts all along the way for each step in each process," she said.

Artifacts are a form of evidence educators use to tell the story of their classrooms and showcase instructional practices.

"To receive Highly Effective Schools Accreditation, schools must put a laserlike focus on the things that matter and make a difference for students," Solution Tree Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Cameron L. Rains said in a news release.

"We commend Lake Hamilton Middle School for achieving this designation and for going the extra mile for the learners they serve," he said.

Jones acknowledged the role of external support, particularly from educational leaders like Southern Arkansas University ERZ Director/Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Roger Guevara, in guiding the school through the accreditation process.

Looking ahead, Jones emphasized the importance of sustaining momentum and building on the school's success.

"While we celebrate this accomplishment, we are already setting our sights on our next goal," he said, noting plans to pursue further recognition through the PLC model.

  photo  The main entrance to Lake Hamilton Middle School is pictured Monday morning. (The Sentinel-Record/Brandon Smith)
 
 

Upcoming Events