There is not a more exciting place to learn and work than Silver Lake Intermediate School – Home of the SLI Cyclones! It is a young adolescent’s world filled with their work, their ideas, their activities and their fun!
Silver Lake Intermediate School instructs students in grades 5-8 serving students from Park Lawn and Summit Elementary Schools. Our enrollment over our 8 years has increased from 540 students to 745 students and we strive to be a developmentally responsive intermediate school for all students. The following components are in place at SLI to make this happen:
Cyclone Circle – Introduced two years ago, our Cyclone Circle responsive classroom has become a powerful way to increase the connectedness of our young adolescents by creating a strong community with clear expectations in a non-punitive atmosphere that is interactive and engaging. Our students connect with their school, get to know themselves, staff and peers, build social skills and warm up their thinking selves in a wide variety of mentally challenging discussions and games. A meta-analysis of 207 studies of social-emotional learning programs found that students who participated in school-based social-emotional learning programs improved significantly in:
- Social and emotional skills
- Attitudes about themselves, others, and school
- Social and classroom behavior
- Achievement-test scores and school grades
Exploratory Programming – Silver Lake Intermediate is a place for artists, scholars, leaders, scientists, musicians – you name it! At SLI it is a time to discover and develop individual interests and lifelong talents. In addition to 90 minute block time in Math, Reading/Writing, and Social Studies/Science, SLI exploratory classes and clubs included world languages (Mandarin/German/Spanish), intramural and interscholastic sports, student council, art, technology education, drama, health, orchestra, chorus, band, Project Lead the Way engineering and design classes, and leadership opportunities (to name a few). Our WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) 8th grade mentors serve as a catalyst for change by modeling positive behavior, providing social activities and helping to make Silver Lake Intermediate School a place where everyone belongs. Social activities included our talent show, dances and activity nights, and our “Superstars”, multi-age team-building competition.
Varied and appropriate instruction – Teachers work collaboratively to plan instruction to provide adequate challenge for students while making learning engaging and fun. For example, student-centered classrooms, collaboration, hands-on activities, student choice, team activities, personalized learning, and authentic assessments promoted meaningful participation in the learning process. Our instruction focuses on Universal Design for Learning and the four pillars – Student Centered Planning, Developing Culture for Learning, Understanding by Design and Actionable Feedback, and Classroom Design. These are priorities when customizing curriculum so that it can be accessed by all students.
Shared Vision Among Staff – Staff enjoy teaching at SLI and are committed to developing well-rounded young adolescents. This year the staff affirmed their commitment to learning to lead for equity and social justice. Staff engaged in an equity analysis of our school and an action plan to increase achievement of all students regardless of race, ability, language, income, or gender. We are moving from a deficit-based system to one that is based on proactive, integrated, and comprehensive services using data to raise student achievement and transform service delivery for all students. All staff work at the development of expert learners. Expert learners understand how they learn best and thus do not just receive content but create ways to gain access to content according to their unique needs.
Healthy Transitions – Elementary to intermediate school and intermediate school to high school are substantial changes for students. We worked hard to ensure that both students and their families were well-prepared as they entered a new school experience. For example, the following were some of the activities that assisted the transition into intermediate school:
- Principal and counselor visited 4th grade classrooms
- 4th grades visited SLI for an orientation and scavenger hunt night
- Parents were invited to an information night
- We provided “Movin’ In” orientation for new 5th grade students in August
Healthy Parental Involvement – SLI reached out to parents because we believe that parents are crucial to student success. Our student-led conferences and Student Celebration of Learning allowed students to take charge of their learning, take the responsibility to share their progress with their families, and celebrate their learning successes. Our PTO and volunteering in our school and classes provided an opportunity for parents to continue to be in the school and make connections. Even though your child may not admit it, it is true that adolescents need their parents around them more than ever!
Silver Lake School… a great place to be!