Principal Tad MacMillan, board member of the National Association for Professional Development Schools, is a passionate advocate for PDS work. He recently shared his thoughts on the PDSD with teacher candidates in the Middle Grades Program: "You being here has so many positive aspects. To be a good teacher, we should always reflect and learn. Having people of different levels of expertise learning together just makes sense. The PDS makes me more aware of what research says and helps me think about where we’re going as a school. The PDSD has transformed my school." Clarke Middle School's varied levels of engagement with UGA demonstrates its commitment to the PDS partnership.
Clarke Middle School welcomed Dr. Amy Murphy as a Professor-in-Residence in Fall 2017. A clinical assistant professor in the Middle Grades Program, Dr. Murphy brings her interests in culturally responsive classroom management, literacy practices across the content areas, and curriculum design to her work with Clarke Middle School teachers. She also supervises practicum students and student teachers from the Middle Grades Program at CMS.
Clinical Field Experiences
Clarke Middle School believes that having more UGA students in the school gives them a ready supply of academic role models, tutors, and interns. To that end, each semester CMS mentor teachers host over 50 practicum students and student teachers in Physical Education, Art Education, Social Studies Education, Special Education, Middle Grades Education, Math Education, School Counseling, English Education, and Science Education.
The PDSD partnership supports Clarke Middle School's sustainability mission. Faculty and students from the UGA College of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine, and College of Arts and Sciences actively support the school's garden and agricultural education. In coordination with the UGA Office of Service-Learning, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer serves as the school garden coordinator. CMS sustainability initiatives include a weekly market featuring UGArden produce and artisan products; a monthly Garden Bar in which CMS-grown vegetables are served in the school cafeteria during lunch; and a 3-tier cafeteria waste separation system of recovering whole, uneaten food for redistribution and cooking demos, composting food scraps and recycling.
Additionally, thanks to the CMS partnership with UGA, raised beds were created so students will mobility issues could be a part of the gardening effort.
For the month of June 2016, Clarke Middle School hosted Camp DIVE (Discover, Inquire, Voice, and Explore), a partnership between the Clarke County School District (CCSD), the UGA College of Education, and the Athens-Clarke County community. The purpose of Camp DIVE is to provide an engaging and enriching summer experience for CCSD students in grades K-8 in order to prevent or diminish the well-known 'summer slide' phenomenon. To meet the needs of students most at-risk for this summer learning loss, the program was provided free of charge to 80 students. Camp DIVE will take place again at Clarke Middle School in Summer 2018.