What Did You Learn in Middle School?
Revere eighth graders to perform exit interviews in new program.
The new program has many purposes: part self-reflection, part high school preparation and part looking ahead to skills needed for life after school.
Maria Fela, the eighth grade mathematics teacher who is coordinating the program, said the students are preparing portfolios of their skills and achievements inside school and out for the interviews.
The students need to have five items in their portfolios. One has to be an extra curricular activity outside of school. Open the files of all the folders, Fela showed one student who had a medal for synchronized swimming and another who took a picture of all the medals and trophies she won in gymnastics.
Student Tara Abbas put in her portfolio a medal from a dance competition and perfect score from a math test. “It brings out what I’m good at,” she said. The math test also was important, because it highlights a subject she struggled in, but did well. It taught Tara, she said, “Hard work pays off for a lot of good things.”
The portfolios also serve the function of pushing the students to look at their own accomplishments during their time at the middle school, plus the things that need improving.
“If we don’t make adjustments, we never change,” Fela said.
The interviews will be completed near the end of the school year in front of panels that Fela hopes to comprise of teachers, parents and others from the schools and community. The interviews will take place in May.
“We believe it’s a life skill that’s very much needed,” Fela said.
Carol Shoop, an eighth grade language arts teacher, said self reflection was the most important part of the program. She said it’s helping students make the connection to develop themselves personally.
The portfolios make students ask themselves, “What picture do these artifacts paint about you?” she said.
Fela said the program gets the students to look at their specific traits that make them different and special. “The school system is trying to open up their minds for the real world as much as possible,” she said.
The students also met with high school student “ambassadors” earlier this year who took them to different classes at Revere High School and introduced them to their guidance counselors, among other activities. It gave the soon-to-be freshman a connection when they enter the school next year, Fela said.