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ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

Stemmers Run Middle School values academic integrity and does not permit any form of dishonesty or misconduct.  Stemmers Run’s academic policy is routed in the Baltimore County Public Schools character education and it is expected that students strive to be principled by “exhibiting personal and academic integrity through honesty, expressing beliefs in appropriate ways, and working to one’s full potential,” (BCPS Student Handbook).  Upholding academic honesty ensures that all students at Stemmers Run have an equal opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they acquire.

In accordance with the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, academic misconduct is “behavior that results in, or may result in, the student or any other student gaining an unfair advantage in one or more assessment components,” (MYP: From principles into practice).  Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Plagiarism – the representation, intentionally or unwittingly, of the ideas, words or work of another person without proper, clear and explicit acknowledgement
  • Collusion – supporting academic misconduct by another student, as in allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another
  • Duplication of work – the presentation of the same work for different assessment components
  • Unauthorized Collaboration - Collaborating on an assignment without the authorization of the teacher.
  • Any other behavior that gives an unfair advantage to a student or that affects the result of another student.

Ensuring academic honesty is the responsibility of Stemmers Run teachers, students, and families.  Students will learn the skills necessary to avoid academic misconduct through the implementation of the IB Approaches to Learning Skills.  Students will develop skills, such as citing and referencing, through research, information/media literacy, and the use of Easy Bib. 

At Stemmers Run Middle School, students who engage in academic misconduct will be held accountable according to our Baltimore County Public School progressive discipline plan.  Despite misconduct, students will not be denied an opportunity for learning.

ASSESSMENT POLICY

Stemmers Run Middle School recognizes the importance of assessment in the learning cycle.  Assessment is essential to both teaching and learning.  In order for students to achieve the highest level of success possible, our teachers work to develop a variety of rigorous assessments that align with subject-group objectives and criteria. 

Critical to the success of our students is the on-going collection of assessment data which is used to inform decisions to meet the specific needs of all students.  Both formative and summative assessment are integral parts of our instructional program as teachers constantly reflect on their instruction as well as the needs of their students.  Formative assessment, otherwise known as assessment for learning, provides our teachers with the necessary data to tier instruction for success on the summative task (MYP: From principles into practice).  Frequent formative assessments will also give students the opportunity to rehearse and practice prior to the summative task.  When developing summative assessments, our teachers will provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and understanding.  Each of these summative tasks will be directly linked to the statement of inquiry.

Stemmers Run Middle School’s teachers use published MYP assessment criteria for each subject group in alignment with BCPS course standards to assess student work.  Through co-planning, teachers standardized assessments to align with the IB assessment criteria and BCPS standards.  To promote consistency, teachers meet to discuss the criteria and how achievement levels should be applied.  Teachers provide students and parents with the IB MYP criteria used along with descriptors on how the criteria is being applied.  Each teacher records students’ scores based on the IB MYP criteria and makes the data available to students and parents through progress reports, interims, conferences, and Schoology Learning Management System.  Schoology will allow for teachers to record both formative and summative assessment data through anecdotal records, continuums, and examples of student work. 

To meet Baltimore County Public Schools grading and reporting requirements, teachers also use BCPS grading standards to assess student work.  These grades are communicated to all stakeholders through the official BCPS report card.  In order to accurately portray IB achievement levels with BCPS standards, Stemmers Run will use the following conversion to report student achievement.

IB Achievement

Level

BCPS

Grade

BCPS

Percentage

0

E

50%

1–2

D

1 = 60%

2 = 66%

3–4

C

3 = 72%

4 = 77%

5–6

B

5 = 83%

6 = 87%

7–8

A

7 = 95%

8 = 100%

 
SPECIAL EDUCATION POLICY

Stemmers Run Middle School adheres to the special education laws and policies set forth by the United States Department of Education, the Maryland Department of Education and the Baltimore County Board of Education.  Our equity policy states that “every student in the school system should receive an education that maximizes his/her potential to become a globally competitive graduate.”  It is our belief that working toward success for ALL students as stated in the equity policy supports the International Baccalaureate mission to “encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”  BCPS believes that “disparities on the basis of race, special education status, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, English Language Learner status, or socio-economic status are unacceptable and are directly at odds with the belief that all students can achieve.” Based on this belief, we understand that it is our responsibility to address the specific needs of all students in order to ensure that all students are successful.  Therefore, all diploma bound students will be enrolled in MYP courses.  The only exception would be for students who are enrolled in a Math and Reading intervention course.  These students would not receive a second language.

Stemmers Run Middle School is committed to following the Special Education Policies outlined by our Board of education:

The Board of Education of Baltimore County (The Board) is committed to the principles articulated in federal and state law regarding the provisions of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), the protection of the rights of eligible students with disabilities, and the principle that every child can learn and succeed. The Board is committed to providing equity and excellence in education by providing each student with an instructional environment that nurtures potential and enhances academic success. With this central mission in mind, the Board recognizes every student in Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) who exhibits special needs should have access to appropriate educational services. The Board recognizes that students with disabilities should be provided with appropriate services, supports, accommodations, and modifications to address individual needs, to promote student growth, and to receive educational benefit. BCPS will provide a continuum of appropriately differentiated educational experiences, services, and placements for all students with disabilities, birth through age 21. These educational experiences, services, and placements will be research-based and aligned with school system goals.

At Stemmers Run Middle School all teachers work to meet accommodations outlined by students’ Individual Education Plans in the least restrictive environment.  Special education teachers co-teach and co-plan with content certified teachers in order to help meet accommodations and differentiate for students.  All teachers receive on-going professional development in order to remain up to date on special education best practices to ensure that we are always working toward meeting the needs of all students. Students who receive special education services are assigned a case manager, who specifically monitors the progress of each student in their caseload and provides feedback to parents/guardians.

At Stemmers Run Middle School we understand that meeting the needs of our special education students is essential to achieving our purpose to “provide for every student the highest quality 21st century education in a safe, secure, and positive environment conducive to high levels of teaching, learning, and student engagement, resulting in globally competitive students prepared for their chosen college and/or career path.”     

LANGUAGE POLICY

Mission Statement:

Stemmers Run Middle School’s mission is to maximize the academic potential of every child in a safe and personalized environment.  SRMS will prepare and promote students who are high school, college and career ready, and prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century’s global society.

Language Philosophy:

At Stemmers Run Middle School we recognize that language is a critical element in communicating understanding and the key to access valuable learning that is provided in our school.  Language is also the key to creating a welcoming an inclusive environment that supports all learners.  As such, all teachers commit themselves to being teachers of language as they promote effective communication skills that are necessary to be competitive in a global society.

Community Language Profile:

Currently at Stemmers Run, 10% of the student population live in a home where English is not spoken as the primary language and 9% of the student population have a native language other than English.  Of that population, 29% of the students are classified as English Language Learners (ELL).  Baltimore County Public School Policy allows for students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) to choose between an English to Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) center or a student’s home school.  While our district requires that ESOL centers (which we are not) provide resources and staffing to support LEP students, LEP students from our community can opt out of those services and choose to attend Stemmers Run.  We currently have 21 students classified as LEP, and while they have refused ESOL services in selecting our school, it is still our responsibility to meet the needs of every student.  As a result of our growing LEP population, we have hired an ESOL certified teacher, and have committed to ongoing professional develop on culturally and linguistically responsive instruction. Additionally, we offer translated documents and translators for meetings whenever necessary.  For the students classified as ELL, they participate in the World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) by taking the Assessing comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State (ACCESS) assessment, which provides information on their level of instructional needs.

Language Acquisition Requirements:

Stemmers Run believes for a student to become globally competitive, they need to be proficient in a second language.  Students who study multiple languages have a greater chance of success in all subject areas.  The goal of Stemmers Run is for all students to study French or Spanish during their entire tenure.  There are still circumstances where students who are enrolled in a reading and math interventions do not have room for a second language in their schedule.  However, if these students no longer need an intervention, a foreign language will be added to their schedule.   Because the Language Acquisition teachers at Stemmers Run utilize a phase approach to instruction, they will be able to meet the needs for all students, not matter their current proficiency. 

Students will be engaged in daily opportunities to increase proficiency with the English Language, as well as the secondary language.  Language acquisition is a tool by which students increase cultural proficiency and appreciation of multiple perspectives.  Stemmers Run is committed to promoting all kinds of literacy as we strive to continuously support the development and success of our students.

 

Language Learning in all Subject Groups:

Because language learning is a critical step in any balanced education, and a foundation for learning, language learning will occur in every classroom as part of every MYP subject group.  Specifically, Stemmers Run Middle School is committed to literacy instruction in all subjects.   

Mother Tongue Support:

For students whose mother tongue is not English, our language of instruction, students may receive additional classroom support through one or more of the following differentiation strategies:

Using visuals and demonstrations in the classroom

Getting support from partnered students, encouraging collaboration

Getting materials and readings ahead of time

Utilizing graphic organizers

Modifying assignments where writing is not critical to the objective

Additional checks for understanding

Activating prior understanding

• Extended time for assignments

Using language aids (dictionaries or translators) for assignments that are not language dependent but working to reduce dependency on these aids.

Using body language in addition to verbal cues

Allowing students to use mother tongue where appropriate

In addition to the differentiation strategies listed above to support students whose mother tongue is not English, we also have a Spanish Club that was created to specific support our growing Spanish Speaking immigrant population, and an American Sign Language Club to support both our hearing-impaired population as well as community members that want to support them. 

Library support of language learning:

The Stemmers Run Middle School Library is the not only the geographic center of our school, but it is the educational center.  Our library is the instructional and creative hub where everything in our MYP comes together including language instruction.  Teachers work collaboratively with our librarian to plan lessons, conduct projects, research, and activities that require resources available in the library to supplement classroom instruction.  Our librarian serves as our building literacy leader and strives to incorporate valuable literacy and language elements into lessons and activities that take place in the library. 

We recognize the importance of supporting language acquisition through our library and offering a variety of texts not only in Spanish and French, but also in mother tongues of our student population.  We are committed to promoting international mindlessness by maintaining a collection of international authors and promoting international themes in our library.  Our librarian will work with language teachers to ensure that our library has a variety of texts available to support the needs of our diverse learners.     

Review of the Language Policy:

The SRMS language policy will be reviewed as part of a collaborative process involving representation from all stakeholders and will be reviewed bi-annually.  In addition to reviewing the policy, the review committee will give specific attention to our progress in support for mother tongues and support for students who are not yet proficient in English.