Clarke Middle School

Clarke Middle School

Principal: Tad MacMillan

PDSD ActivitiesPic-9

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, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Rosemary Gay 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 & 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.

School Climate
District-wide Professor-in-Residence Dr. Kat Raczynski supports administrators and school leaders in measuring school climate, identifying areas of focus, and implementing evidence-based initiatives that are responsive to school and community needs. Dr. Raczynski also serves on Clarke Middle School’s Local School Governance Team.

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.

On-site Teaching and Learning


The Bulldawg room at Clarke Middle School where UGA on-site classes are held.

As a Professional Development School, CMS works with UGA to develop future teachers and is proud to host many UGA courses on-site in the red and black Bulldawg room:

Each of the Middle Grades undergraduate courses are offered on-site at Clarke Middle School (EDMG 5010, 5020, 5030, 5040). On-site instructors for these classes include Clarke Middle School’s professor-in-residence, Dr. Amy Murphy, associate professor Dr. Hilary Hughes, and doctoral candidate Mr. Matt Moulton. Through these courses Middle Grades teacher candidates work with CMS students, observe in classrooms, and learn about community contexts, curriculum design, and other topics from CMS faculty.

Dr. Gayle Andrews teaches Young Adolescents and Schools (EDMG 9030), a doctoral seminar at CMS in which students design their own service-learning projects to connect their interests in young adolescents and middle grades education to needs related to improvement efforts within the UGA/Clarke County Professional Development School District partnership.

Ms. Logan Garrett, an instructor in the Secondary Mathematics Education Program teaches between 12 and 20 mathematics education undergraduates on-site.  A rotation through the grade levels and course levels allows UGA students to practice facilitating group discussions, learn about student thinking, and pay particular attention to the classroom environments of their host teachers. Teachers and administrators also share their expertise with UGA students on topics such as classroom management, family engagement and assessment.

Dr. Lynn Sanders-Bustle, Chair and Associate Professor of Art Education (Lamar Dodd School of Art) teaches her secondary art education class (ARED 3360/6360) on-site at Clarke Middle School in coordination with art teacher Jordan Perry. The class convenes weekly at CMS where students teach art, learn about school culture and talk with faculty and administration.

Clarke Middle offers innovative professional development in social studies, with increasing numbers of social studies teachers becoming mentors to teacher candidates. Currently, Dr. Sonia Janis and Dr. Mardi Schmeichel  teach Pedagogy, Practice and Theory in Clinical Spaces (ESOC 4455, 4450L and 4/6370) on-site every Fall semester.


Fall 2017 Mentor Teachers

Chris Batson
6th Grade Social Studies

Natasha Bolden
Health & Physical Education

Lisa Hickey
8th Grade Social Studies

Mary Murtha
6th Grade Math

Josh NeSmith
7th Grade Social Studies

Kristina Patel
8th grade Math

Ashlee Perry

Jordan Perry

Rob Simpson
6th Grade Social Studies

Sean Simpson
7th Grade Social Studies

Janet Wilkins
8th grade Math

Brad Williford
6th Grade ELA Special Education

UGA Teacher Candidate Field Instructors

Dr. Sonia Janis
Social Studies Education
Department of Educational Theory and Practice

Jeremy Kilpatrick
Department of Mathematics and Science Education

Dr. Amy Murphy
Middle Grades Education
Department of Educational Theory and Practice

Margaret Robbins
Department of Language and Literacy Education

Dr. Mardi Schmeichel
Social Studies Education
Department of Educational Theory and Practice