Roland Park, an urban elementary middle school, empowers a diverse community of learners to achieve academic excellence. Teaching and learning at Roland Park provide a positive, engaging, and challenging environment for creative and critical thinking. In the spring of 2014, RPEMS identified three areas of focus to make it a model public urban elementary and middle school. These three areas are school climate, curriculum and instruction, and facilities and technology. The ultimate measure of success in all of these areas is that RPEMS students achieve significant successes in high school and beyond.
In the first area, School Climate, RPEMS will develop positive relationships among all stakeholders. It will create a caring, trusting, and welcoming environment for all RPEMS community members. In order to do this, RPEMS will develop and implement a Code of Conduct and a 3R matrix for the entire community, as well as continue to improve its cultural competencies. Further, the school will improve the school’s student-to-adult ratio, develop stronger relationship between the school’s families, and further implement character education and wellness programming.
The second area, Curriculum and Instruction, allows RPEMS to further develop and implement best practices in teaching, in curriculum, and in assessments – all of which will prepare students for success with the Common Core State Standards. The school will achieve this goal in three key ways. The first is through enhanced after care programs with daily activities that reinforce grade appropriate curriculum. These extracurricular activities include teaching music, technology, and foreign languages. Second, RPEMS will further develop in-school curriculum that is hands on and engaging through Arts Integration partnerships and opportunities. Further, the school will enhance its Common Core aligned project based learning at each grade level, improve classroom technology, and conduct deeper teacher and parent trainings on Brain Targeted Teaching and its classroom implementation. Third, RPEMS will ensure that its richness and challenging curriculum is available for all students, whether through the elementary school gifted curriculum or a restructuring of middle school teams to support its culture of excellence.
The final area, Facilities and Technology, allows the school to improve school facilities and enhance technology to provide students with the infrastructure necessary to accommodate a 21st century education. This will be done in three ways. The first is by renovating common spaces (library, bathrooms, cafeteria, play spaces, etc.) to create a practical, clean, inviting, cheerful, and inspiring environment. Second, the school will develop systems and structures for safe travel and transitions on and around campus (especially around student drop-off and pick-up). Third, RPEMS will establish the infrastructure (wireless internet access and teacher/staff training) and technology hardware (laptop and tablet carts for each classroom) to support the development of critical skills for all students.
RPEMS is very clear about what success looks like. By achieving these goals, the school will improve results on climate surveys, decrease office referrals and suspensions, and maintain its state certification as a PBIS Gold School. RPEMS will also increase student achievement on the PARCC assessment, increase the number of elementary students accepted into Ingenuity and Advanced Academic programs and the number of middle school students attending entrance criteria or private high schools. These areas will ensure that a critical mass of RPEMS students will be successful in honors, IB, and AP classes in high school. Finally, the school will achieve certification as National Blue Ribbon School and its teachers will continue to rank as high performers based on ratings derived from the Instructional Framework 2.0.