LINDALE, TX (KLTV) -
One East Texas middle school is welcoming some of the nation's top education experts, all in an effort to make its students better prepared for the future.
Last spring, Lindale Junior High was selected as one of the Bush Institute's first class of Middle School Matters schools.
The program was founded by the Bush Institute in 2011 after research showed that many students have already decided critical aspects of their future by the time they reach high school.
"Laura Bush has a special place in her heart for middle school, because the research shows that this is the time when students either develop the skills they need to be successful in high school, or often they just become drop outs," said Lindale Junior High principal Vicki Thrasher.
The Middle School Matters program helps train middle school teachers on how best to equip their students for the best possible personal outcomes.
"What we are hoping is that students from Lindale can go through Lindale Junior High to high school and then on to any college in the country. We want them to be successful," said Thrasher. "It might not even be a college, it might just be a technical school. Even if they're not able to do that, we hope that they acquire skills in advanced reasoning, and of course reading and math."
Lindale Junior High was one of eight schools selected in the first class of the Middle School Matters program and is only one of three schools nationwide to have education experts from across the country coming to its campus to provide specific professional development to its teachers.
The Lindale Junior High faculty will receive training in the three areas they felt would most help their students: math, reading, and advanced reasoning.
"What we're most excited to learn as teachers is that from the Middle School Matters program, we have research-based strategies that are being presented to us by the experts," said Kristine Brown, a seventh grade English/Language Arts teacher at Lindale Junior High School. "And we now have access to the knowledge that these experts have and these strategies, so that we'll be able to help our students reach new heights."
"What we especially like about Middle School Matters, they're not trying to sell us a product," Thrasher said. "They're not trying to sell us a program. These are just research-based strategies that help students learn."
Lindale Junior High faculty will have a day of professional development Monday while their students have the day off. The experts will then observe the strategies in practice in the classroom on Tuesday and Wednesday.
While this will be the first visit from the education experts, Lindale Junior High started this training over the summer and has been implementing it in classrooms all fall. Administrators say schools from all across East Texas have been coming or plan to come to Lindale to observe some of these new techniques.
If you'd like to learn more about Middle School Matters, including how to participate in the 2014-15 school year, visit their website.
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