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ED 541 Middle School Philosophy and Organization
Kiefer, Rebecca

Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

School For Education Mission Statement
The School for Education at Park University, an institution committed to diversity and best practice, prepares educators to be effective school professionals, reflective change agents, and advocates for equity and excellence for all learners.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.

School For Education Vision Statement
The School for Education at Park University is to be known as a leader in the preparation of educators who will address the needs, challenges, and possibilities of the 21st century.

Park University School for Education  Conceptual Framework


ED 541 Middle School Philosophy andOrganization Course Outline.


S1P 2007 ED


Kiefer, Rebecca


Adjunct Faculty


Educational Specialist in Middle Level Administration
Master's in Elementary Administration
Bachelor of Science in Education

Office Location

6501 NW 72nd St- Kansas City, MO  64151

Office Hours

by appointment

Daytime Phone


Other Phone



Semester Dates

January 17th -March 6th

Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 9:30 PM

Credit Hours



Jackson, Anthony W. & Davis, Gayle A. (2000). Turning Points 2000: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Forte, I. & Schurr, S. (2002). The Definitive Middle School Guide, revised edition. Nashville, TN: Incentive Publications, Inc.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
This course explores the unique nature of middle schools, middle school students, and middle school teaching, and looks at the history, theories, and philosophies that led to the development of today's middle school. The organization and purpose of middle schools will be covered, as well as the special role middle schools play within the structure of K-12 education. The course stresses individual research, reflective inquiry, and the creation of each educator's individual philosophy of middle school education.

Educational Philosophy:

The instructor's role is to provide students with the opportunity to take an active role in reading, researching, presenting, discussing, and applying information related to the course objectives and learner outcomes. The instructor recognizes the importance of student contributions to the learning process and encourages the collaborative exploration of ideas and issues. The instructor will provide a variety of learning and assessment opportunities including reflective writings, collaborative dialogue, readings, lectures, examinations, videos, and electronic and print resources.


Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the history, characteristics, and organization of middle schools
  2. Reflect upon what comprises instructional effectiveness in a middle school
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and development of the middle school child, and will identify the needs and problems of young adolescents today
  4. Describe the unique purposes of middle schools, and will relate those purposes to the needs of young adolescents
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of today's middle school's within K-12 education, and describe the relationships among elementary, middle, and secondary schools
  6. Demonstrate an appreciation for the issues and views being debated in educational circles today, including those related to education in general and those related to middle school education in particular, and will critically integrate the resulting insights into his/her own developing middle school teaching philosophy
  7. Recognize the unique challenges faced by middle school educators, debate the pros and cons of possible solutions to those problems, and propose new solutions of her/his own.
  8. Identify “Best Practices” in middle level educational programs including: integrated curriculum; advisor/advisee; flexible block schedule; creative exploration; affective and cognitive development of students heterogeneous/flexible grouping of students; parent involvement and interdisciplinary collaborative practices; and student management systems.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Course Assessment & Explanation of Assignments

Attendance/Participation - Students will be expected to attend class weekly and be an active participant in all activities. – 8 weeks @ 10 points each = 80 points

Article Review & Reflection - Each student will research, read, and summarize four (4) articles related to some aspect of middle level education.   The written review and reflection should include a 1-2 page (typed double spaced) summary of the article's main points, and your reflection related to how the information could be used by you as a classroom teacher. The review will be shared with the class before handing in.  - 4 articles @ 30 points each = 120 points

Assigned Readings - Students will read the assigned work from the text prior to each class meeting. They will be expected to actively participate in class reflections and discussions regarding the readings by answering guiding questions . – 5 weeks @ 20 points each = 100 points  

Middle School Facility Analysis – Each student will visit two middle schools with the purpose of analyzing their facilities and space. The analysis should respond to the suggestions for facility requirements for middle schools on page 42 of The Definitive Middle School Guide.   – 2 analysis @ 25 points each = 50 points

Middle School Classroom Observations – Each student will observe a middle school classroom for a minimum of 1 hr in each setting and submit a 1-2 page double spaced reflection. The reflection should include observations of curriculum, instruction, assessments, teaching strategies and classroom management practices used by the observed teacher. – 2 observations @ 25 points each  =50 points.

Final - Each student will complete a final over middle level teaming. – = 100 points


Grading Plan
Attendance/Participation                                            =   80 points
Article Review & Reflections (4)                               = 120 points
Assigned Readings                                                     = 100 points 
Middle School Facility Analysis (2)                           =  50 points
Middle School Classroom Observations (2)               =  50 points.
Final Test                                                                   = 100 points
Total                                                                            500 pts


Grading Scale

            450 - 500      =          A

            400 -    449      =          B

            350 -    399      =          C

            300 -    349      =          D

            000 -    299      =          F

Late Submission of Course Materials:

This course is designed to emphasize the application of knowledge and dispositions through structured performances requiring the student to read, analyze, and respond to a variety of educational situations. The articulation of ideas through verbal and written discourse is paramount in maximizing learning outcomes. Hence, all assigned work is expected to be completed in a timely fashion. A grade reduction of 20% will be assigned for late work. The instructor may make modifications to these requirements for unique and/or extenuating circumstances.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Weekly Topical Outline And Assignments - TENTATIVE

January 17       Introductions

                        Park University Conceptual Framework

                        Review of Syllabus, course requirements & expectations

                        Reflective Practice

                        Characteristics and Needs of the Adolescent

                        Homework:     Read Turning Points: A Decade Later – Chapters 1 & 2

                                                Read The Definitive Middle School Guide – p. 17-44, 50


January 24       Questions and Discussions over Homework

Historical Perspectives of Junior Highs, Middle Schools and K-8 buildings

                        Program Characteristics of a Middle School

                        Middle School Facilities

Homework:     Read Turning Points: A Decade Later – Chapters 3 & 4

                                                Read The Definitive Middle School Guide – p. 47-49, 51-71, 83


January 31       Effective Classroom Practices & Management

                        Curriculum and Instruction

Homework:     Read Turning Points: A Decade Later – Chapters 5 & 6

                                                Read The Definitive Middle School Guide – p. 167 – 233



February 7       Middle School Governance

                        Scheduling – flex, block, alternative

                        Teams – Interdisciplinary & Disciplinary

                        Team Building

Homework:     Read Turning Points: A Decade Later – Chapters 7 & 8

                                                Read The Definitive Middle School Guide – p. 93 - 159

                        Four Article Summaries and Reflections

Two Classroom Observation Summaries

February 14     Student Assessment

Hand in Articles and discuss

                        Hand in Classroom Observations and Discuss

Homework:     Read Turning Points: A Decade Later – Chapters 9 & 10

                                                Read The Definitive Middle School Guide – p. 73-82, 293-340


February 21     Advisement Programs and Affective Education

                        Exploratory Classes and Elective Classes

                        Intramural Programs

Homework:     Read The Definitive Middle School Guide – p. 245 – 284

                        Middle School Facility Analysis (2)


February 28     Parent and Community Relationships

                        Instructor Evaluation

Homework:     Prepare for Short Answer Final


*     School Structures and Climate that Meet the Needs of M.S. Students

*    Interdisciplinary Teaming and Block Scheduling

March 6           Final Test

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog Page 24-26


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct. Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog Page 24-26

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences in excess of four (4) class periods, in a 16-week semester (or 2, in an 8-week term) will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Dean, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified by mail that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2007-2008 Graduate Catalog Page 28

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:1/18/2008 4:27:14 PM