Presque Isle Middle School is a 6-8 middle school in Presque Isle, Maine. Part of MSAD #1, Presque Isle Middle School houses students from Presque Isle, Mapleton, Castle Hill, Westfield, and Chapman. There are 403 students, with a 50% free and reduced lunch rate and a 22% special education rate. These fabulous students are taught by 31 teachers and 7 educational technicians.
When asked what makes your school great, Principal Anne Blanchard proudly states, “Our faculty and staff are student-centered! Because we are student-centered, we are always looking for ways to respond to student needs, leading to the collaborative development learning workshops. We are proud of this aspect of our curriculum, which offers both remediation and enrichment.” Learning workshops are a Response to Intervention (RtI) model that the entire staff developed over many years of trial and error. Each of the three grades has either intervention or enrichment for 30 minutes every day. Teachers and specialists each take a group of 5-8 students based on need and offer intervention for those students. The children who are in enrichment get to choose which Learning Workshop activity that most interests them: golf, pottery, fitness activities, and other content specific activities. The day I visited PI Middle, was the first day of the new Learning Workshops and some students were beginning to “Meet the Scientists.”
Each of the Learning Workshops last for three weeks and students choose which enrichment activities they are most interested in at the beginning of the school year. The kids know that they need to work hard in their regular classes in order to participate in the Learning Workshop Enrichment classes. Students’ needs are determined by NWEA, common assessments, and other formative assessments. One of the students said, “Learning Workshops get our brains thinking.”
In 2005, Presque Isle Middle School opened its doors to students from two different middle schools in the city. The combined staff worked hard to create a child-first environment. Led by Mrs. Blanchard, and her amazing Assistant Principal, Barbara Bartlett, Presque Isle Middle School believe that remediation and enrichment are the turning point in making a difference for the students in their school. They acknowledge that the journey is hard, but it is also exciting and dynamic – “Definitely worth it!”
When students were asked, “What makes Presque Isle Middle School the great school that it is,” many students responded:
“There’s a focus on sports and fitness. We are encouraged to stay active.”
“We love the trips, like Challenger Center in Bangor.”
“Learning Workshops! We LOVE having a choice in what we are going to learn. It makes learning fun.”
In regards to the Principal, Mrs. Blanchard, and the Assistant Principal, Mrs. Bartlett, the students stated that they really appreciated how like they know that their thoughts matter. “If we have an idea that we want to try, they let us.” The students noted that their administrators focus on making a difference: “They support ‘Purple Pinky for Polio,’ the Civil Rights Team, and support the teachers vs. students’ basketball game.”
Presque Isle Middle School is a great example of what a Middle Level learning environment should be and I highly encourage you to take a visit!
Contact: Presque Isle Middle School, 569 Skyway St, Presque Isle, ME 04769