Handbook

MIDDLE YEARS SCHOLARS PROGRAM (MYSP)

The Middle Years Scholars Program is designed to provide educational experiences for highly gifted students. Located at Central High School, the Middle Years Scholars Program provides a challenging and rigorous curriculum for students who participate.

The Middle Years Scholars Program provides students with continuous progress, academic challenge and support for their social and emotional needs.

Contact Debbie Preston at 523-3309 or Dr. Crowder at 523-3329

Who is eligible for the MYSP?

Students in grades six, seven, and eight who demonstrate advanced intellectual ability on an approved intelligence test and have demonstrated academic achievement.

Where is the MYSP Located?

The Middle Years Scholars Program is located at Central High School. The central location, the diverse student population, and the influence of the International Baccalaureate Program provides an ideal environment for profoundly gifted students.

Why is there a need for a Middle Years Scholars Program?

Students who qualify for the program need opportunities to experience rigorous classes such as Humanities, Advanced Communication Arts, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Latin, Japanese, Science etc. These unique curricular opportunities and the rapid pace of instruction more closely match the needs of advanced students.

Instructional Support for the Middle Years Scholars Program

Seven teachers specifically trained to teach highly gifted students work daily to find the right balance between academic rigor and support for each student’s social and emotional development.

Some classes are taught by high school teachers who are subject matter specialists. As such, they help support the academic needs of these precocious young people.

Supporting MYSP students and their families is a daily goal and is done in a variety of ways. Secondary Program Specialists meet individually with students, counsel students in whole group settings, facilitate family counseling sessions, provide academic support and guidance, and serve as advocates for these students.

Middle Years Scholars Program Handbook  

(In addition to this handbook, all MYSP students will receive a middle school handbook published by the Springfield school district. It includes a citizenship standards form that must be signed by the student and parent and returned to school. The district handbook includes the discipline policy as well as dress code, calendars, and other important information. Parents are encouraged to keep it as well as the MYSP Handbook in a readily accessible area.)

Program Mission, Vision, and Goals

The mission of the Middle Years Scholars Program is to provide highly gifted middle school students with appropriate academic opportunities and a cohort of intellectual peers.

The Middle Years Scholars Program will support the transition of each profoundly gifted student from a heavily supported learning environment to a more independent and academically rigorous one, through the use of specially designed courses and resources unique to a high school setting.

MYSP Goals

Students will improve oral and written communication.

Students will actively develop critical, creative, and organizational thinking skills.

Students will improve performance on MAP through integration of content standards into curriculum.

Students will develop the ability to design, research, and present independent projects.

Students will match needs, interests, and abilities through placement in appropriate high school courses.

The staff will increase awareness among Central faculty and staff of the goals of the Middle Years Scholars Program and the needs of profoundly gifted students.

Orientation

Formal orientation for all MYSP students will be scheduled in August before school starts. Schedules, lockers, ID pictures, and other important information will passed out at this time.

Course descriptions and syllabus

Courses offered in the high school are described in a booklet titled, “New Horizons.” Every student in the Middle Years Scholars Program will receive a current copy of this booklet as part of the scheduling process.

MYSP Communication Arts (6th grade)

The sixth grade Communication Arts class is designed to not only help students learn and practice the skills needed to become effective, superior students but also to instill a love for literature and learning throughout life. This class is a stepping stone to seventh and eighth grade Communication Arts. By practicing and becoming proficient in note-taking, oral speaking, research, and writing skills, as well as reading different types of literature, the student will gain the confidence that is necessary to insure clarity and understanding in this age of global communication. Students will learn to read for comprehension through the explication of literacy structure, metaphor, and language, to write creatively and critically using proper grammar, syntax, and spelling, and to express themselves verbally in formal and informal speaking situations. The class will focus on developing the basic techniques of communication through the study of literature (essays, poetry, drama, fiction, non-fiction, etc.), writing assignments (essays, poetry, technical information, fiction, biography, etc.), and speaking assignments (information, persuasive, inspirational, etc.).

MYSP Communication Arts (7th grade)

This course will focus on furthering students’ skills in visual, verbal, and written communication of ideas and feelings. Students will gain an understanding of different styles of communication through reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. They will have the opportunity to compare and contrast a variety of works as well as create and critique their own individual projects. Students will also continue to develop their skills in critical reading, critical writing, organization, and thinking skills through literature and research.

MYSP Communication Arts (8th grade)

The study of humanities involves those branches of knowledge concerned with human beings and culture which include philosophy, literature, and the fine arts. The arts will serve as a vehicle by which students can learn thinking skills, and the understanding of self and others. Lecture and class discussions will establish the chronological evolution of political, philosophical, and artistic history. Oral presentations will give students the opportunity to share information as well as develop communication skills. Creative and academic writing assignments will add to the depth of the class discussions and develop writing and research skills.

Curriculum scope and sequence

Sixth graders are enrolled in 3 classes with Middle Years Scholars Program staff. These include: language arts/social studies, pre-algebra or algebra. Their high school courses are Integrated Science Honors and Art Fundamentals.

Seventh graders enroll in one class with our staff - language arts/social studies. They enroll in earth science honors, algebra or honors geometry, and various electives. These electives would include classes from all areas of the curriculum except physical education. Typically they would choose journalism, debate, electives in social studies or language arts, drama, choir, band, orchestra, keyboarding, I and II, broadcast media, IB Spanish I and II, IB French I and II,  and courses from the art and consumer and family studies.

Eighth graders enroll in one class with our staff - Language arts/social studies. They enroll in a science class, math class, usually a foreign language, and then select electives from the high school curriculum.

Exception: Students in the Middle Years Scholars Program do not enroll in the required high school language arts and social studies classes. They do not enroll in any IB classes restricted to juniors and seniors. They do not enroll in health or P. E.

Physical Education/Health

Physical education and health are taught in an integrated class by a certified teacher. The students receive sixty minutes of instruction per week in a mixed class of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.

Description of Affective Resources

Students in the MYSP continue to need support and direct instruction for social and emotional needs. The MYSP staff is trained in working with the social and emotional needs of gifted students. The counseling staff at Central and school district psychologists support the staff and students.

The MYSP staff will include, as part of their curriculum, the affective curriculum developed at Phelps for middle school students.

 

Scheduling

Students entering sixth grade are required to take MYSP communication arts (Section I and II), math (pre-algebra and pre-algebra II or algebra), social studies,  art and Integrated Science Honors. They are assigned to classes during the Central scheduling process in the spring.

All students receive a copy of “The New Horizons”. Published every year, this booklet lists all the classes taught in the high schools plus explains class requirements. It also provides an explanation of the grading system and honors system.

Students entering seventh or eighth grade are allowed to select many of their classes. Certain classes are not available to the MYSP student. The traditional high school language arts and social studies classes are not available because we provide our students with classes in those areas. Classes that require try-outs (such as advanced chorus) may be limited by a student’s ability. Marching band is not encouraged because of out of town trips, extensive morning and summer practices. Physical Education classes are also not scheduled. A meeting of parents, students, a Central counselor and MYSP staff provides information and guidance in the scheduling process.

Seventh graders are required to take communication arts and social studies. They are expected to take earth science honors and the appropriate math class (usually algebra or honors geometry). They make these selections as well as the additional classes they would like to take in February.

Students entering eighth grade are required to take communication arts I and II. They are expected to take a science and math class. We encourage students to take a foreign language. They choose their classes plus alternates in February.

In late spring, the master schedule is finished and students are scheduled into their next year’s classes. Sometimes, due to class conflicts, students will not get their first choices and will need to make alternative selections. Every attempt is made to create a working schedule approved by students and parents by the end of school.

Students entering the ninth grade at Central will meet with their Central counselor to receive information about the high school schedule and recommendations of choices. Students will complete their choice sheet with their parents and return it to the Central counselor.

Students entering the ninth grade at another Springfield high school will need to arrange to meet with a counselor from that high school. The MYSP staff and Central counseling staff will assist by providing transcripts and any additional information that high school requires.

Assessment

Middle Years Scholars Program students are enrolled in the program based on evidence of advanced ability. The curriculum is therefore differentiated to provide the students with both an accelerated pace of instruction and enriched or alternative content and materials. While we are inclusive of the district’s instructional goals, they are contained in an academic framework much different than the one on which benchmarks are based. We do incorporate mastery of MIG’s in the scope of instruction, but how and when this occurs will be different and sometimes unique to each student.

In terms of data, Middle Years Scholars Program students do take the MAP in 7th and 8th grades. Our 8th grade students take the Explore test. Additionally, over half of our 7th grade students take the ACT/SAT as part of the Duke university TIP program. Students also participate in the Algebra final. Ultimately, student performance is evaluated in their high school classes via grade and final exams.

Currently, over a 3 year period, Middle Years Scholars Program students will enroll 6 Middle Years Scholars Program classes including CA/SS, pre-algebra/algebra. They will enroll in 14 high school classes. Some of the most powerful data for the program evaluation will be their performance in these high school classes as 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.

Grading

Students receive grades in both high school and middle years scholars program classes. Their grades are determined by performance on papers, tests, projects, and classroom activities.

When students are enrolled in high school classes, their work is evaluated as if they were a high school student.

GPA

Springfield Public Schools encourages students to participate in a rigorous, challenging academic course of study. Honors classes, AP classes, and certain other classes are designed to count toward a “weighted multiplier.” The number of designated classes that a student successfully completes in a school year determines a multiplier.

The students in the Middle Years Scholars Program will enroll in “middle years” classes and high school classes. The high school classes will be included in their high school GPA. Those classes that are weighted will count toward their freshman multiplier. At the end of their freshman year, all of their high school credits earned in the Middle Years Scholars Program and their freshman year will be multiplied by their multiplier to determine their class rank and GPA.

Dual transcript

Students enrolled in the Middle Years Scholars Program will receive a dual transcript. It will include their middle years classes which are not recorded for high school credit and their high school classes which will become part of their official high school transcript.

This information is valuable as a way to communicate to colleges and universities that these students participated in advanced classes before the traditional time.

Study Skills/Organizational Skills/Homework

During the 6th grade year of the Middle Years Scholars Program, the teachers and staff of the Middle Years Scholars Program will provide instruction in the areas of study skills and organizational skills. Parents, teachers, students, and staff will work as a team to develop and improve these building blocks which are very important to the students’ success in future high school and middle years classes.

Students can expect at least an hour of homework each night. The assignments could be daily work, projects, tests, or papers. Most of these students, who learn quickly and perform tasks rapidly, have not had homework in the past. Because they are receiving assignments designed for their academic level, they will need to reserve time at home for study and review. At first, parents may need to help by structuring a time and a place for these activities.

Staff Directory/Contact Numbers CHS 523-9600

Becky Smith:  6th grade     Social Studies ext. 32349

Jane Sellars: 6th grade Communication Arts ext. 32319

David Giddings: 7th grade Communication Arts ext. 32233

Karen Poulson: 6th grade Pre-Algebra/Algebra ext. 32141

Julie Chapin  7th grade      Social Studies ext. 32143

Paula Thompson: 8th grade Communication Arts - Humanties ext. 32317

John Scheer: 6th grade Pre-Algebra/Algebra ext. 32312

All teachers can be contacted by email. Example: jsellars@spsmail.org

Extra-curricular Activities, Clubs, Organizations

There are many programs at Central designed to enhance the mental and physical well being of students. Most of these programs are open to the MYSP students. The athletic program, competitive debate, high school competitive music contests, Kilties, cheerleading, dance team, and a few others are restricted to the MYSP students due to the Missouri Activities Association guidelines.

Our MYSP students do attend ballgames, participate in school plays, assemblies such as talent assembly, join clubs - including the Math Club, Nerd Club, Science Club, Chess Club, and others. There is a listing of club organizations in the high school student handbook. Students interested in a specific club should contact the sponsor (with help from our staff) to find out if they are eligible.

School Nurse

Doris Jones, 523-2630 Located in room 128 across from the attendance office.

Transportation

Students in the Middle Years Scholars Program are eligible for district bus transportation. During the first month of school, there may be changes in times and routes due to students moving in and out of an area. If you have problems, you may call transportation, 523-0500.

Lockers

Students are assigned individual lockers in which they may store extra books, coats, lunch boxes, etc. They should not share their locker combinations with other students. Locker assignments for students are included in their packet. Parents are encouraged to save a copy of the locker number and combination for their records.

Duke TIP

Duke University sponsors a 7th grade talent search. All of our 7th graders qualify to participate. We encourage families to read the materials carefully when they come home in September. If you do not participate in this program but think you might be interested in a dual enrollment or college class, you will want to sign up for the ACT or SAT through Central High School.

PARENT INFORMATION

MYSP Parent Group (MYSP-PG)

The MYSP Parent Group meets monthly to plan social/extra-curricular activities for the MYSP students.  There is no formal PTSA at this middle school level, but there is the Central High School PTSA, of which our parents & students can be members.  (The high school PTSA offers our middle school students the opportunity to participate in the national PTA fine arts REFLECTIONS competition held annually in the fall.)

The MYSP-PG is organized by volunteers who step forward to plan and lead the meetings and scheduled events.  This group has representation on the PAGE Board (Parents and Advocates of Gifted Education).

The monthly activities that are planned serve the purpose of social interaction and physical exertion.  A survey of the students is conducted annually, for their input on the activities.  Typical activities include: indoor swimming, rock climbing, open gym, bowling, ice skating, etc.  We usually hold the events immediately after school on one Friday per month, with snacks provided.  Sometimes a minimal fee is charged.  We also hold 1-2 “Commons” parties where kids can bring their favorites boards games and music and eat pizza and hang out at school.  We have an annual Winter Wonderland Social at Phelps, and a Spring Dance at Central.

 Communication

 Our primary method of communication is via a “Yahoo-group”.  Each parent or family should submit their email address to the MYSP administration or Parent organizers to get their name into this group.  It is a free service and is used extensively to communication activities and pertinent information between parents.  To join immediately you can send your email address to DPreston@spsmail.org and she will forward it to the appropriate parent volunteer who maintains the yahoo group.

PAGE – Parents and Advocates for Gifted Education

PAGE is the umbrella organization for MYSP-PG.  PAGE meets monthly at Phelps Center for the Gifted and provides fundraising and advocacy for all gifted programming in the Springfield Public Schools district.  The treasurer of PAGE manages the MYSP-PG activity fund.

MYSP Activity Fund

At the summer orientation, MYSP Parents will be asked to contribute $20.00 per student to the MYSP-PG activity fund.  This will offset costs of snacks and other expenses generated by the monthly student activities, and also cover some annual expenses for the yearbook and teacher appreciation.

Fundraising

MYSP students participate in all the PAGE fundraisers which include magazines sales in September, cookie dough sales in November, and Humanitees T-shirt sales in April.  The proceeds have so far purchased a laptop projector system and a SMARTboard projector system for the MYSP department, in addition to other needs.

Parent Volunteer Program / Directory

Parents interested in contacting a volunteer should call 523-3309 or 523-9650 ext. 32316.  Parents interested in volunteering in the classroom for MYSP teachers should contact those teachers directly.  Parents may also volunteer in the Central attendance office or the library and should contact those offices directly.

Parent/Student Support Groups

There are currently no formal support groups other that the monthly MYSP-PG meeting and the PAGE meeting, which can serve that purpose also as time allows.  A directory of all students’ and parents’ names and phone numbers is distributed at the beginning of the year.  Any experienced MYSP family would be more than willing to share their experience and support via personal contact.

Activity Fees

MYSP students can purchase a $10.00 high school activity ticket that will allow them to attend all home athletic events at Central.

High School

Applicable District Policies

Applicable District Policies - Students attending classes on the Central High School campus are expected to follow all rules and regulations of Central. Any failure to follow school or district rules and regulations will result in implementation of the discipline scope and sequence as outlined in the Middle School District Handbook. Each student is provided with this handbook at the beginning of the school year.

CHS Resources - Special Education

Central High School has resources to assist with academic, social, and emotional issues. The Central High School counseling staff is available to work with students who are experiencing social and emotional issues. They can also assist with academic planning and scheduling questions.

Central High School has a very strong special education department. Our students who have IEP’s continue to receive services while they attend Central. However, the MYSP program is highly accelerated and may not be appropriate for students already needing support in the regular classroom.

Always, we ask parents and students in the MYSP program to contact an MYSP staff member first about their concerns or needs. Because of the unique nature of this program, we are usually in the best position to explore solutions to problems.

How to Contact H.S. Teachers (email, etc.)

All teachers can be contacted by email or by telephone. Email is first initial last name @spsmail.org. (nhilton@spsmail) All teachers should have access to phone and voice mail. The CHS number is 523-9650 and the answering machine will direct you to the correct number.

FAQ’s

Listing of the most frequently asked questions

What about the safety and security of the young students in a high school setting?

It has been our experience that Central High School is a very safe place. The high school staff and administration take great care to “look after” our students. The high school students are usually helpful and kind to the “little kids”. When necessary, the administration deals quickly and efficiently with problems. Any student experiencing problems should report it immediately to the main office.

 

Who do I call when I have a question?

Most questions should be directed to one of the MYSP staff members. In addition to the instructional staff, members of the support staff include Deborah Preston 523-3309 or Dr. Lynda Crowder 523-3329 or 523-9650.  MYSP maintains an office in front of room 317 at Central or at Phelps in room 109. Both offices are equipped with voice mail if we are with students.

 

Where do I drop off and pick up my student?

Families may drop off at Benton Street Plaza (located on the Benton Street side of Central between the old and new buildings) or in the front circle drive located on Central Street. There is also an entrance on the west side directly across from the downtown library on Jefferson. If you are picking up your student before school is dismissed, you should send a note or contact the attendance office (523-9600). Students must sign out before leaving or they will be considered truant.

 

How do I get a message to my student?

You may call boys attendance (523-9615) or girls attendance (523-9616) to send a message to your student.

 

What about the lunch procedure?

School lunch is served in the cafeteria or commons. Students may select from a hot lunch or choices of sandwiches, pizza, tacos, salads, or bring lunch from home. Lunch time is approximately 30 minutes. Parents may send money every day or may pay lump sums in advance that the student may draw on. Students must show their ID in order to purchase anything from the cafeteria.  Checks should be made out to CHS - memo cafeteria - and given to the cashier.

A standard school lunch is $1.90, while reduced is $.40 for those qualifying.

 

Will the high school students tease my student?

A certain amount of good-natured teasing is always present in a school. When that teasing becomes hurtful or harassment, students are encouraged to contact one of the Central High School administrative staff.

What happens if I lose my ID?

If you leave your ID at home, you may receive a free temporary ID two times. If you lose your ID, or continue to forget it, you will need to purchase a new one. ID’s are $3.00 and the lanyards are $2.00.

 

How do I get my student’s report card?

Students will receive their first, second, and third quarter grade cards from their teachers. The fourth quarter grade card is sent home. Students who do not receive a grade card probably owe fines. The family should contact the librarians or attendance to discover the reason. As soon as all fines are paid, the report card will be released.

 

For more information, contact us at 523-3309