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August 29, 2014, 8:09 pm

Honors just keep coming for Shaw Middle

Achieving academic excellence, a data-driven curriculum and hard-working students are just some of the things that make up Anna H. Shaw Middle School. With a school motto of “Where Every Kid Counts,” Shaw’s mission is to prepare every student academically, socially and morally to compete in the global community.

“Shaw is a good school,” said seventh-grader Daniyah Gregory. “The teachers and Principal Lang really care about us succeeding academically and personally. Shaw has a good learning environment and the students here help each other. It’s a good school to help prepare for our future.”

In addition to the core curriculum, Shaw has various programs that emphasize data-driven instruction. The data looks at students’ academics, attendance and behavior.

Achieve3000, which is a mainstream online program where students have the ability to improve their reading and writing, is one of the programs at Shaw. Through the program, students have the ability to improve their reading and writing. They will have the means to master the curriculum, meet the standards set by Common Core, and be prepared for college and a career one day.

“This program takes all of the print literature from the AP and break it down to a particular reading level,” said Principal Kwand Lang. “Prior to a student participating in Achieve3000, they must do a pre-assessment. Once a student completes that, the program levels every kid from kindergarten to post-high school, so if a student is reading a story about Sandy Hook at an eighth-grade level that story has already been modified by the computer to an eighth-grade reading level.

“This takes place every day at our school. Every week we receive information from Achieve3000 on how our kids are doing. Even if the students are excelling at grade level, we have other programs in place to continue to challenge them in reading and writing. The beauty about the program is that everyone will be reading the same exact story, but the story will be modified to that particular student’s reading skill level. No one will be able to pick up the difference by just looking at their laptop. The program has really been a success so far at our school.”

Shaw continues to provide the ultimate learning experience through its partnership with City Year. Nine core members currently serve at the school, focusing on attendance, behavior and course performance.

“This is our longest partnership in the city of Philadelphia, we’ve been here for 12 years,” said team leader Katharine Miller. “The experience I’ve had at Shaw has been amazing. Working with the students and seeing how resilient they are and how much they have to offer has inspired me to come back to City Year this year as well as looking into a future career in education.”

Some activities at Shaw include the chess club, debate team, Sonia Sanchez Literacy Center, Men of Shaw, Ladies of Distinction, an anti-bullying group, and boys’ and girls’ athletics.

“As of right now, I don’t participate in any activities, but I’m interested in volleyball,” said seventh-grader Chyna Chase. “I’m really good in volleyball, so I’m interested in doing that here. I was also interested in basketball, but I don’t think I will be good at it, so I’m going to stick with what I know.  Shaw offers the students here a lot of different activities and programs to participate in.  It’s really up to us to take advantage of it.”

Some points of pride at Shaw include the Voices of Philadelphia debate team champions (2010); City Year National Award recipient for Impact on Literacy (2011); and the 2012 City Year City-Wide Spelling Bee champions in 2012. 

The school was also featured on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” for its partnership with City Year and the student government members were invited to visit the White House last spring. Shaw participates in the Diplomas Now Partnership with Johns Hopkins University. The school also received a $50,000 grant from the Cole Hamels Foundation for a new library.

For seventh-grader Sule West, going to Shaw has been a good experience.

“I like going to Shaw,” he said. “The atmosphere here is great, the teachers are good, I learn a lot, and I have a lot of friends here too. Out of all my classes right now, I would have to say my favorite class is social studies. It’s always good to learn about different places and time periods around the world.

“Overall, my experience at Shaw has been a good one. The school has a lot of different programs and the school, as well as the students have achieved a lot. Everyone here really cares about us; they want to see us succeed not just in school, but in life.”