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Executive Summary

 Section 1: Description

Havana Middle School is located in a rural town in the northeastern corner of Gadsden County, just minutes away from the state capitol (Tallahassee, Florida). Gadsden County at large is a rural agriculture community consisting of six municipalities, which is heavily dependent upon agriculture and county and state government for its employment base. The latest U. S. census (2010) reported that Gadsden County had a population of over 46,000 individuals. The county's racial make-up was 54% African American, 34% White, 8% Hispanic, 2% American Indian, and 2% Asian. The 2010 U. S. Census also reported Gadsden County's educational status as following: 72.4% of the population was high school graduates and 12.6% held bachelor degrees or higher. The median household income was $32,000 with the percentage of people below poverty at 28.4%.

The Town of Havana was initially settled in 1902 after completion of a railroad track for the Florida, Georgia, and Alabama Railroad Company through the area. The railroad was very important to the town, as was tobacco. The town was incorporated on December 6, 1906. The name "Havana" was proposed by a local school teacher because shade tobacco used in fine cigars of Havana, Cuba was the major crop in the area at the time. Over the years, tobacco crops dwindled and now the town is well known for its many antiques shops, art galleries, and specialty shops. Havana has a laid-back atmosphere and is an excellent place to spend the day shopping or just browsing because it contains an electric assortment of shops and restaurants. The latest U. S. census (2010) reported that The Town of Havana had a population of 1,754 individuals, which is an increase of 2.4% from the 2000 census. The 2010 U. S. Census also reported that the majority of the population consisted of females (975) with only 781 males. The median household income was $27,344 and $36,487 per family.  About 11.1% of families and 16.3% of the population live below the poverty line, including 18.3% under the age of 18 and 23% age 65 or older.

Havana Middle School has an administrative team that consists of a principal, guidance counselor, behavior specialist, and two instructional coaches. Seventeen of the eighteen teachers are certified and highly qualified by definition of state mandates. Of the 18 teachers, all of them hold a bachelor's degree and five possess a master degree. The support staff includes an office manager, school secretary, media and technology specialist, two paraprofessionals, three food service workers, and four custodians. The current student enrollment is 187 students in grades sixth through eighth. Approximately 10% of the student population receives exceptional education services. The ethnic distribution is 95% African American, 2% White, 2% Hispanic, and 1% other. More than 94% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. There are four classes per grade level and the average class size is 18.

Section 2: Purpose

The mission of Havana Middle School is to provide a learning environment that is safe and conducive for learning, while focusing on the need of individual students. To achieve our mission, we are driven by our vision, which is Habilitating Mind for Success. The staff is not concerned with the academic achievement levels of student upon their arrival at HMS but believes learning at HMS prepares students to achieve anywhere. The school slogan is: Striving for Academic Excellence by Changing the way we Think...One day at a Time. The mission and vision is aligned with adequate yearly progress (AYP)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB) initiatives, as well as district and state initiatives. However, there are external challenges and internal barriers that interfere with accomplishing established goals. External challenges include a centralized budgeting and resources management system, as well as parental participation. Internally, the small student population requires the administrative staff to operate without an assistant principal and administrative assistant. Despite the external challenges and internal barriers, HMS has provided a learning environment that is safe and conducive for learning, while focusing on the needs of individual students. Our core values and statement of beliefs embody the true essence of our school and rural community.

                                                                                   Core Values


Achievement driven



Makes Learning Gains

Success Focus

                                                                            Statement of Beliefs

  •   Education is the key to opportunity and social mobility
  •  A safe and supportive learning environment promotes student achievement
  •  The development of a caring school environment is a priority for HMS
  •  Each student is a valued individual with unique physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs.
  •  All students can learn
  •  Students must develop an understanding of essential knowledge and skills, as well as develop the capacity to apply their learning in order to reason, solve problems, and produce quality work
  •  Assessment of student learning provides students with a variety of opportunities to demonstrate the achievement of the expectation for their learning
  •  Allocation of resources in alignment with our mission and goals helps to maximize the opportunities for students to learn and experience success in school
  •  Our job is to teach the students we have, not the ones we would like to have, not the ones we used to have but those we have right now...all of them

Section 3: Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement

Students are provided academic and social opportunities through positive and diverse learning experiences in ways to better prepare them for future success after leaving the halls and courtyard of HMS. The primary goal is to increase proficiency scores in the areas of reading, math, and science with an emphasis on the economically disadvantage subgroup population. HMS has received a letter grade of "C" four of the last five years. Writing proficiency is a strength for the school while reading, math, and science proficiency hover between 40 to 50 percent. During the 2011/2012 school year, HMS move a letter grade even after the state raised cut scores for achievement. This achievement was accomplished through our data-driven, continuous improvement efforts and increased implementation of research-based strategies. Also of note is our increase in parental participation during the last school year. Our parents were heavily active and involved in the education of the students due mainly to the PTSA initiatives of Parent of the nine weeks and year. We are a unified family-oriented staff striving for academic excellence by changing the way the community day at a time. The new CAPE Academy, revamped SSTRIDE program, and high school advanced placement classes also aided in increasing the school's letter grade even with the more rigorous and raised cut scores. Notable achievements and areas of improvement are as following: Explicit Teaching and Learning, Student/Staff Expectations, Parental Involvement, and Technology use.

HMS recognizes the need to continually improve by adopting the school's slogan of "Striving for Academic Excellence by Changing the Way we Think...One Day at a Time". There is a strong commitment by the entire staff to strive for academic excellence by increasing students' proficiency levels over the next three years. A roadmap has been drafted and is in full implementation. The roadmap addresses current status, strengths, needs, planned actions, and future required achievement levels to be classified as a high performing middle school. A copy of the road map is located on the school's website and faculty handbook. It is reviewed and updated annually, as well as briefed by the leadership team during the District's School Improvement Plan Peer Review.

Section 4: Additional Information

HMS is in the process of implementing common core state standards (CCSS) and will have full implementation by June 2013. The instructional focus is centered around explicit teaching and learning with heavy emphases on close reading, text complexity, vocabulary development, and comprehensive instructional sequence (CIS).The use of empirical data from standardized tests scores and district and school assessments to determine school improvement efforts is a priority. Data team meets during pre-planning to disaggregate the data by discussing the proficiency data, domain data, and subgroup data. Further data meetings are held bi-weekly in a form of progress monitoring. All stakeholders work collaboratively to give students many opportunities for success on benchmark assessment and practice FCAT tests by providing in-school tutoring and after school academic and enrichment. Professional learning opportunities and subject collaborative planning time are provided for teachers to develop instructional strategies to improve academic performance for all students. High expectations of faculty, staff, and students are imperative for continued improvement. A variety of program and services are implemented to ensure community/parental involvement. Media and technology are used to involve parents through the use of ParentLink, school website, and Engrades. Correspondences include the student agendas, progress reports, and report cards. Parents and community members were involved during Open House, parent EXPOs, and SAC and PTSO quarterly meetings. HMS is proud to offer an open door policy in which parents and guardians are encouraged to visit on any given day.