The Power of a Strong Learning Community

By: Emily Caster, Principal Sparrows Point High School, Jennifer Gounaris Principal, Sparrows Point Middle School

At Sparrows Point Middle School and Sparrows Point High School, one of the things we collectively take great pride in is creating a family environment for our students. We have a saying at The Point, “Once a Pointer, Always a Pointer,” that represents the family feeling and warm, caring environment in our school building, that houses students in grades 6 thru 12. We are proud to have a fiercely loyal group of teachers, support staff, students, parents, families and alumni, all working towards a common goal of ensuring that every student has the best possible experience and leaves prepared for a bright and rewarding future.

We are a community of learners. This year, our school community has sharpened our instructional focus around literacy. We know that literacy can either be a barrier, or an opportunity for our students. One of the strategies we are using this year is called “Reengaging Readers,” through our English Language Arts Department.  Through Reengaging Readers, each student will self-select a full text that they will read throughout the school year. We are excited to see the results of having every student having selected and read a novel or biography of his or her choice from our library.

We are a community of leaders. At our school, we look for creative ways to grow student leaders. This year, we are growing student leadership through our Pointer Sisters mentoring program, which is a collaboration between our middle and high schools. We are also promoting student voice and leadership through our male mentoring program and our student led peer mediation program, Pointers for Peace. High school students support the middle school by serving as student helpers in middle school classrooms, and by serving as recreation leaders in the high school physical education department.

We are a community of change agents. At Sparrows Point Middle and High Schools, we embrace change, we encourage change and we are change agents! We pride ourselves on honoring the storied past of our school community, while planning for the ever changing landscape within our immediate community, county, state, nation and world. One way we equip our students with 21st century skills is through refining their P21 skills both in and outside of the classroom.  Through a study of 21st Century themes and subjects, we foster our students’ development of key learning skills including creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.  These skillsets are nurtured through a blended model of instruction where technology and media literacy are modeled and paired with face-to-face instruction in responsive methodologies. Additionally, our students are imparted with the life and career skills needed to be both college and career ready upon leaving The Point. This balance of content and process prepares our students for various post-secondary pathways.

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