Thursday, November 29, 2018

Our New Report Card is Here!

One of many exciting new changes to our school and the district this year is the return of report cards! As we end the first trimester of the school year and begin the second parents have an opportunity to see their student's report card. Parents can access the report cards through their PowerSchool Parent Portal accounts. We have put together a short video that explains the steps to follow to access the report card as well as some other features related to grades in the Parent Portal. Follow this link to the video on Accessing Report Cards.

Please feel free to call the school office at 895-3394 if you have questions or need help with the Parent Portal.

Bob Bickford, Principal

Friday, October 26, 2018

October was a busy month here at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School!

This school year we transitioned to trimester grade reporting for all of our classes as well as added the opportunity for parents and families to print progress reports and report cards. Prior to this year our core academic courses, English, math, science and social studies, were reported out on quarterly and our unified arts classes were reported out on in trimesters. Also, for the first time in many years all of our classes, not just the core academic classes will be used to determine the honor roll at the end of each trimester.
Based on our state academic performance scores in the past we knew that many of our students needed extra support and instruction in math or reading. We did research on how best to meet our students’ needs and developed our Response to Intervention classes. Students have been placed in relatively small groups with similar needs and provided 45 minutes of specialized instruction every day for six weeks. We have now reviewed where our students are now in their knowledge and skills and regrouped as needed for the next six weeks of RtI. Initial results are promising that we are headed in the right direction.

Our very own Krystal Kebler has been selected as Breathe New Hampshire’s Volunteer of the Year! She is receiving the The Donald L. Frost Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award. This award is given out annually to a Breathe NH volunteer who possesses strength of character and dedication to the organization and the Granite State that was exemplified by Donald Frost.  Ms. Kebler is thanked for volunteering to work with Breath NH this past year to pilot the CATCH My Breath Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Program and assist them as they developed their Vaping Unveiled education program.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What's new at IHGMS for the 2018-2019 school year?

We have a new IHGMS Vision Statement:

Iber Holmes Gove Middle School is a community of learners and positive role models working and growing together to encourage all students to reach their highest academic potential.

Our vision is to provide a rigorous and engaging educational experience for all of our students, so they will become independent thinkers that are active and collaborative members of society who can communicate and lead effectively.

We will be using our vision to guide our work and help focus our decision making throughout the new school year.

With the approval of the school board last spring, we will be moving to trimesters for all courses when we return to school at the end of August. Progress reports and end of term grade reporting will be at the same time for the core academic classes and unified arts classes alike. Also new this year will be printable progress reports and report cards that parents and students can access through their PowerSchool portals. Reporting dates will be published in the weekly parent email on Tuesdays.

Also new this coming school year will be reporting out on your student’s progress toward mastering competencies in each of their classes. Traditional grading practices will continue to be used so there will be overall grades for each class, but also information on how your student is progressing toward the mastering of each competency in each class. For example, in English you will know not only know what the overall grade is but also scores on reading literature, reading informational text, writing, and speaking and listening. More information will be shared with the community as we get closer to the start of the school year.

During the last school year we began using STAR assessments to measure student knowledge and skills in reading and math. Students took these assessments in September, January and May so we could measure their levels of performance and the amount of growth over the school year. Our students will be taking the STAR assessments soon after the school year begins and we will be using that test data to break students up into small groups with similar knowledge and skills to provide either interventions or enrichments in reading or math.

We are reformatting our Academic Intervention Block (AIB) to a Multi-Tier System of Supports process, sometimes referred to as Response to Intervention or RtI. We will have 13-14 educators working with each grade level to provide small group instruction focused on what students need. The groups will work together with a teacher for 6 weeks. The teachers will be measuring student progress every three weeks. After six weeks we will regroup the students with similar knowledge and skills again based on the STAR assessment data. Our goal is to improve student performance in reading and math.

Be on the lookout for more information as we get closer to the start of the school year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Community Conversation on Education

A Community Conversation on Education

Posted by Tina McCoy on 5/25/2018 3:00:00 PM
Where will the Raymond School District be in five years?

How will we get there? 

You can help determine the answers to these questions by participating in our upcoming Community Conversation on Education, on the evening of June 4, 2018 between the hours of 5 and 8 PM at the Library/Media Center at IHGMS. Our Strategic Planning Steering Committee members will hold this forum to gather input from stakeholders who are truly invested in the future of our schools. Parents, students, citizens, business owners, employees.... anyone who wants to influence the direction of the District in the next five years is invited to share their ideas and perspectives.  The format of the forum will be relaxed and straightforward, with two main guiding questions:
  • What are we doing really well as a school district? (What excites you and makes you proud?)
  • What would you like to see improved in the District? (What are some challenges we need to address together in the next three to five years?)
Light refresments will be provided in our cool, air conditioned middle school library! You need not spend your entire evening engaged in the forum (although you are welcome to do so). There will be sessions at 5 PM, 6 PM and 7 PM. Please come and have an enjoyable time talking with others who care about our schools and our community -  and influence the future of the Raymond School District!

Please note - If you have a hard time getting there in person, several alternatives are available to allow you to participate:
  1. Join the Strategic Planning Facebook Group prior to the meeting and engage through Facebook live with our virtual meeting facilitator, Art Wolinsky! 
  2. Send your thoughts regarding strengths and needs of the District to the committee via email to
  3. Call our special Strategic Planning Input phone number at (603 200-3038) to leave a voicemail sharing your ideas regarding what's working well in our school system and what should be improved. If you are willing to let us contact you about your responses, please leave a number or an email address. 
The Committee will be accepting input until June 11, 2018.
The Cheshire Cat in the beloved book, Alice in Wonderland said, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there". Together we can make sure that we do know where we are going, and that our future destination is well in tune with the values and needs of our community stakeholders.

I hope to see you on the evening of June 4th at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in the library!

Friday, May 25, 2018

IHGMS Proposed Grading Procedures for 2018-2019 School Year

The following are proposed changes to our grading practices for the upcoming school year. They have been shared at a community forum and at a Principal’s coffee hour. We would greatly appreciate additional feedback. Feel free to call the school office at 895-3394 or email with any comments that you would like to share.

Stays the same:
  • 50-100 Scale for assessments that have a % score
    • <50 = 50
    • 50 or greater is entered as that score
    • 50 for missing work
  • Formatives & Summatives
  • Grade book updates at least once every two weeks
  • Scores will be averaged
  • Summative Retake Procedure (with time restriction)
  • Eligibility for Co-curricular and Extra-curricular activitiesSummer School
Proposed Grading Procedure Changes:
  • Only summatives will be used to determine competency and course grades.
  • Appropriate power standard(s) will be attached to summative assessments
  • Formatives added to grade book with appropriate feedback to inform students and families
  • Comments will be optional at progress and term reporting
  • Grade reporting will be both traditional course grade and individual course competency scores.
    • Competencies will be scored on a 1-4 Scale
    • Proficiency Levels are aligned to state assessment reporting
      • Proficient With Distinction, Proficient, Partially Proficient, & Substantially Below Proficient
Competency Proficiency Levels
  • Proficient with Distinction - The student is exceeding the grade level competencies.  He/She extends concepts and skills to a greater depth than presented.
  • Proficient -  The student is meeting the grade level competencies.  He/She is able to grasp key concepts, processes, and skills.
  • Partially Proficient -  The student is progressing toward the grade level competencies. He/She performs inconsistently in regards to accuracy and quality.
  • Substantially Below Proficient -  The student is not meeting the grade level competencies.   He/She is not demonstrating understanding of key concepts and skills.

Proposed Summative Retake Procedure Changes:
    Competency Recovery will be available.
  • All related formative work must be completed prior to retake
  • Retake procedure must be completed within 10 school days of the scored summative being returned to the student.
  • Competency Recovery will be available.

Work Study Practices:
Work-Study Practices (WSP) are those behaviors that enhance learning achievement and promote a positive work ethic such as, but not limited to, listening and following directions, accepting responsibility, staying on task, completing work accurately, managing time wisely, showing initiative, and being cooperative. These behaviors will be scored separately for each course and appear during both progress reporting and grade reporting. Similar to the competency scoring, the work study practices will be scored on a 1 - 4 scale at progress and grade reporting by each teacher a student has.
  • Communication - Students can use various media to interpret, question, and express knowledge, information, ideas, feelings, and reasoning to create mutual understanding.
  • Creativity - Students can use original and flexible thinking to communicate their ideas or construct a unique product or solution.
  • Collaboration - Students can work in diverse groups to achieve a common goal.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving - Students can identify key elements of the problem issue, formulate valid conclusions based on sufficient and reliable evidence and consider alternative solutions and different points of view.
  • Self-Direction - Students can initiate and manage their learning, and demonstrate a “growth” mindset, through self-awareness, self motivation, self-control, self-advocacy and adaptability as a reflective learner.

Monday, April 23, 2018

So what is Response to Intervention or RTI?

The continuous improvement cycle is the key to any successful RTI model. First we learn what students need, then we plan instruction based on what we learned about the student’s needs. This is followed by the teaching and learning cycle; implementing the planned instruction. We the progress monitor with the students to see if they are learning; we evaluate the instruction to determine if it is successful. This is the next needs assessment. If students have learned what they need to in the intervention group, then they return to the Tier I instruction. If not, then they are assigned to an additional intervention group with students who have similar needs and the cycle continues. Some students may need more individualized supports and would move into Tier III.

According to the RTI Network Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.

The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. This is referred to as to Tier I  and are those practices and procedures that help insure that 80% or more of students can demonstrate mastery of the standards based curriculum that they are being taught.

In order to know where our students are at in their progression of learning we need to use a universal screening tool. In Raymond we use the STAR360 assessment language arts and math. This is a computer based assessment that takes about 30 minutes for most students to complete. As soon as a student is done with the assessment we can see where their strengths and challenges are related to the grade level standards being taught. We administer the STAR360 assessment three times each year; baseline in September, progress in January and again in May.

The results of these assessments can be used by teachers to guide their instruction as well as other who are responsible to assist students who don’t currently demonstrate mastery. Students who need additional teaching and learning can be grouped together with other students who need the same of similar academic supports. This is referred to as Tier II instruction in RTI. The instruction is targeted to the needs of the students and they are given additional time to master the standards. These are commonly referred to as intervention groups which usually last about six weeks during an intervention/enrichment block. There is progress monitoring done throughout each intervention span to determine if the students are learning from the additional instruction and adjustments to instruction are made if needed. This is in addition to the Tier I instruction that they are receiving in their classrooms.

For students who are significantly behind in their learning, in most cases two years or more, will receive more individualized instruction in Tier III.  Tier III is in addition to Tier I whole class instruction and Tier II small group, focused instruction.

Throughout the RTI process monitoring takes place to determine student mastery of the grade level standards. For all students, Tier I, this is done in the fall, mid-winter and spring. This is our benchmark testing with STAR360. For our Tier II students progress monitoring is done more frequently, every three weeks or so and for our Tier III student progress monitoring is done weekly.

Our goal is to be piloting an Response To Intervention model here at IHGMS for the 2018-2019 school year to meet the needs of our students. We’ll keep you posted as we move in that direction!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What do we do when students don’t learn?

Our school is collaborative team oriented. Just about every professional in our school is a member of one or more teams focused on teaching and learning. Our teachers all belong to either one of four grade level teams or our unified arts team. The primary focus of these teacher teams is improving curriculum, instruction and assessment and they meet at least twice per week to do so in a professional learning communities model of collaboration. Each one of those teams has a team leader who is a member of the school’s leadership team that also includes the school administration.

We have teams that focus on student behaviors, school attendance, school safety, student performance data and one that focuses on students who are struggling academically; our Student Intervention Team (SIT).

Our SIT looks at student performance data and takes referrals from teachers to identify students who are struggling to be successful in school. The SIT then identifies possible strategies and interventions that might help the students be more successful. We look at end of term grades to see if students have multiple D’s and/or F’s. We look at standardized assessment data for a historical perspective on performance in English and math. We look at attendance data for excessive tardies and/or absenteeism. We look for excessive discipline referrals and any other factors that might impact a student’s ability to learn. We continue to monitor performance of identified students to see if the team’s recommendations are successful, or not.

Our SIT has been in place for many years and has seen some success in supporting students and their teachers so that the students can be more successful in learning. But our SIT has also recognized that there are students who are not responding by improving their academic performance regardless of the strategies and supports that the SIT has implemented. As the saying goes “you can’t continue to do the same thing and expect to get different results.”

Our SIT  has been researching over the course of this school year how other schools around the state and across the country have been addressing similar challenges with success. What we have come to realize is that there are models of systemic change that have had significant positive impacts on improving student learning. The model that we found that appears to be a good fit for our school is what is commonly referred to as Response to Intervention or RtI.

RtI is a framework to provide all students with the best opportunities to succeed academically and behaviorally in school. RtI focuses on providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals. Data are used to allocate resources to improve student learning and support staff implementation of effective practices.

RtI is all about improving student learning through a continuous improvement cycle. That cycle includes a needs assessment to determine where the students learning gaps are, planning interventions to address the needs, implementing the interventions through research based instructional strategies, and evaluating whether or not the interventions were effective.

Our SIT has reached out to talk with and visit other middle schools in our state that have successful RtI models in their schools and we have had the opportunity to work with a nationally recognized expert on RtI at our school. Next month I’ll share the essential components of a Response to Intervention model.