The barometers of Organization’s success.

From an academic perspective, high schools are viewed as barometers of student
success. As examples, statistics such as dropout rates, Scholastic.Aptitude Test scores,
the percentage of students entering college, and the percentage of students passing state
graduation tests are used by the public to judge a schooLsystem’s academic effectiveness.
The modal grade configuration for high schools is 9-12. Combined- junior-senior
– high.schools, usually containing Grades 7 through. 12, are relatively common in small- _
enrollment districts. Junior-senior high schools almost always are organized with a
departmental-structure.
Experimentation also occurred in higb schools.during rhelOousand 1970s. Concepts
such as team teaching, mini courses, and open-concept. schools emerged and· then
retreated after academic excellence resurfaced as a dominant value (Kowalski, 2003).
Beginning in the early 1980s, considerable pressure was exerted on high schools to
become more academically focused (Perrone, 1985). As examples, states increased
gra.duation requirements and many now require students to pass a graduation proficiency
test. Emphasis on performance in basic academic subjects has affected the balance
• Traditional departmental structure. In this configuration, teachers are assigned. to
academic departments and courses are offered through departments.
• Interdisciplinary team structure. An interdisciplinary team usually consists of two to
five teachers and the students they teach. According to Thompson and Homestead
(2004), this -structure is intended to deepen teacher understanding of their.students,
permit team members to engage in collaborative planning, foster collegiality among
team teachers, and establish a community of learners. Fundamentally, teaming is
an effort to organize a school into smaller and collaborative instructional groups.
Inhis study of instructional teams, Supovitz (2002) found three conditions to be
-empirically related to student performance: follaborative preparation for instruction,
occasionally teaching together so that team members could observ.e each other, and
purposefully regrouping students to take advantage of team member strengths.
• Hybrid structure. This configuration includes limited use of self-contained classrooms
(typically at. the entry grade level) with either a departmentalized structure or
interdisciplinary team structure at the remaining grade levels. Tills option -is not
widely-used and is most likely found in middle schools that include Grade 5.
Circa 1970, the ~middle school concept had become -popular, Middle .schools usually
serve no grade lower than 5 and no grade higher than 8; the most prevalent grad-e
configu-ration is Grades 6, 7, and 8. Philosophically; they were supposed to provide a
more meaningful transition experience than junior high schools. But some districts
created middle schools in name only; that is, underlying principles such as integrating
subj-ect matter, exploration, socialization, and articulation were ignored (Alexander &
Kealy, 1969).
Compared with hi-ghschools, middle school.curricula provide Iimited opportunities
for elective courses (which are called exploratory courses at this level). They usually
offer interdisciplinary courses combini-ng two or more subject areas; for example, social
studies is combined with language arts and mathematics is combined with science.
Interdiscip1inary courses allow instruction to be based on .relevant issues or problems
rather than on-subject matter.
Today,three organizational patterns are found in middle schools:

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