Troy Howard Middle School, is located in Belfast, Maine- a picturesque community in Maine’s mid-coast region. Part of Regional School Unit #71, THMS serves the developmental and educational needs of early adolescent learners from the communities of Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont, and Swanville. Four elementary schools in the district feed into THMS, which houses approximately 350 students in grades 6-8. The student population is 94% Caucasian. Close to 54% of the students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.
Academy Teaming Structure
Our students are organized in grade-level learning academies. Our 6th graders are carefully and comfortably welcomed into the world of middle school with “Imagination” as their overarching theme. In addition for the first time in their education our 6th graders are allowed choice in participation in music classes. They can select from Band, Chorus or a new dynamic general music class that incorporates singing and playing modern music including an introduction to stringed instruments such as ukulele and guitar. In 7th grade, the “Ecology” theme (learning connected to and supported by the garden, the greenhouse and the great outdoor opportunities our 60+ acres of fields, woods and trails allow) is experienced by all students. 8th grade has latched onto the theme of “Exploration” with kids incorporating the ideas of Redefining Ready to investigate potential career and educational paths as they think about high school, and further college and career training opportunities. Included are: career exploration, a thoughtfully planned job shadow, an interactive visit to the tech center called “the amazing race,” college visits and a visit to BAHS for an orientation program and course sign up with parent and teacher guidance. Our teachers meet frequently in grade level teams to organize interdisciplinary learning activities and to plan supports for individual student needs. Our the content teams (math for example) meet monthly to share best practices and collaborate to offer similar instructional activities and common assessments.
We use a six day rotating schedule - A through F days. Each day includes six instructional blocks 50-60 minutes in length. Students attend an Extended Learning Time (ELT) and Pride Time around their lunch break. Extended Learning Time provides an opportunity to receive intervention help along with instructional remediation and enhancement. Pride (or Advisory) Time provides an opportunity for team building and personal self-assessment, goal-setting, portfolio work, etc. Band and chorus groups also meet during that time.
Our restorative practices come from the philosophy that when something harmful occurs, relationships between people are affected. It focuses less on the rules that are broken and more on the relationships that are damaged. A restorative circle is a chance for the person who caused harm to take responsibility for what they did and to try to make things right. Each restorative conference can look different, depending on the needs of those involved.