Students and staff are ready to start their first full year at the new McCormick Middle School.
The building was completed halfway through the 2015-2016 year, which created a transition period that principal Craig Housum is glad to see in the rear view mirror.
He is entering his fourth year as principal at McCormick after teaching music at Charles A. Rooney Elementary and serving as assistant principal at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Academy — both Cleveland schools.
He and faculty will welcome 430 students fourth through eighth graders on Aug. 31. Class times at McCormick and Wellington High School will now coincide at 7:50 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
Housum said there could be some innovations in the reading curriculum this year.
“It hasn’t been approved yet, but we’re trying to get a program in our curriculum called Newsela,” he said. “It’s my plan to try and get it. It uses news articles that fall into different reading levels. Students take a quiz after reading them and based on the answers, the reading level of the next article can change.”
Newsela was created in 2012 as a new avenue for kids and adults to advance their reading acumen and vocabularies. Since then, 800,000 teachers and 7.7 million students have made use of the program nationwide.
McCormick received C’s in both performance index and indicators met on its 2015-2016 Ohio Report Card. Performance index keeps track of how many students pass state exams, and indicators met compares overall scores to state standards.
Renaissance — a private testing vendor — has been brought in this year to institute three tests with its Star 360 assessment that will be taken in addition to state exams.
“Star 360 covers language, arts, and math,” said Housum. “We’re going to be taking a benchmark test three separate times a year. It will give us a better idea of the reading and writing levels of the children. It’s going to give us a lot of indicators of language arts and math levels.”
Housum said the added testing will quicken the process of getting help to kids who are reading below their grade level.
“If a child is not working quite at their correct grade level, this testing will automatically give them lessons to bring them up to where they need to be,” he said.
Extracurricular activities won’t be hard to find at the middle school, as students will enjoy football, basketball, volleyball, cross country, and clubs such as chess and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics).
“STEM works with a lot of robotics and LEGO projects,” he said. “Our builders club is a community service organization that works with kids at Westwood and the Wellington Kiwanis. It’s available fourth through eighth grade and made possible by teachers who graciously help with it.”
As far as an outlook on the coming year, Housum says he, students, and staff are happy to be in their permanent home.
“It’s nice to finally be here,” he said. “Our move was actually done in about three days but it was still tough for our seventh- and eighth-graders to move back and forth from the high school. It’s very nice.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Principal Craig Housum has brought in Renaissance, a private testing company, to give McCormick students its Star 360 test this year.