Exploration, Self-Discovery Leads to Paige Middle School Success
Over the course of the summer months of 2018, this column featured the seven high schools of Desert Sands Unified School District. Each school was introduced to the community. Comments received about the series were very popular. This summer we return to the format with the introduction of our seven traditional middle schools, including Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School, as well as our K-12 independent study school. They will appear in no specific order.
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(Note from DSUSD’s Public Information Officer:: Special thanks to Janet Seto who retired as principal at Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School in June. Newly appointed Principal Kerry Sperber has been a member of the Desert Sands team since 2003. She began her work in the district as a middle school special education teacher and has served as a middle school assistant principal as well as the DSUSD coordinator of LCAP (Local Control & Accountability Plan). As a desert native and the parent of DSUSD graduates, she is looking forward to her work with the students and staff at Paige Middle School.)
Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School (CMPMS) is located near the corner of Fred Waring Drive and Washington Street in La Quinta. Students come to from a variety of elementary schools in the Desert Sands Unified School District including James Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and Carrillo Ranch. In addition, many CMPMS students transfer from schools in the local area. Because students come from different elementary schools, they have an opportunity to meet and interact with a new peer group, others who did not necessarily attend their former K-5th grade school. As middle school is a special time of exploration and self-discovery, this provides a unique backdrop for CMPMS’ culture. It is a varied blend of students who contribute to the school’s diverse way of thinking and reflects a myriad of backgrounds.
CMPMS has a proven record of demonstrating progress in English language acquisition with its English language learner (EL) students. Although this population of students is only 7.2%, their progress toward proficiency is 58%, which puts them in the high performance level. The school’s instructional coach works diligently with each of these students, monitors their progress, meets with them regularly, sets high expectations for them, and continually encourages them to become reclassified before they enter high school. They are counseled on their potential and how bright the future is for them if they study and do well in school. The English language development (ELD) teacher and all CMPMS instructors work daily on the development of lessons with differentiated and inclusive practices. These efforts are evidenced by the high number of EL students who are reclassified yearly.
CMPMS has a program and class that places a positive emphasis on kindness. It is “Where Everybody Belongs” (WEB) and links 8th grade students as mentors to 6th graders. The task is to be a buddy to a younger charge and show the 6th graders the proper protocols and ways of Paige Middle School. It is an ongoing growth experience for the 8th grade mentor as well as the 6th grade student. The class follows a curriculum and the teacher provides interactive opportunities for the students throughout the year. The goal is to ensure that all students feel they are cared for and connected to our school.
It is a given that high academics and good behavior are expectations at CMPMS. Our PRIDE acronym (defined in “kid” terms) exemplifies how everyone feels on the Paige campus:
- P (Pride): “Have the things you need, be organized, study, be responsible.”
- R (Respect): “A polite and kind attitude towards peers and teachers.”
- I (Integrity): “Be honest and trustworthy.”
- D (Determined): “Believe in yourself and never give up.”
- E (Enthusiasm) : “Push yourself and others to reach full potential.”
Students who experience difficulties are continually supported in a variety of ways, yet held accountable, for their behavior and what they say. Personal responsibility is stressed and is a cornerstone of evolving maturation and future success. Students have a voice in improving the school and representatives from each class meet monthly in the General Assembly with the principal to express their concerns, interact directly with administration, provide feedback, and give suggestions on how to improve the school. Many creative and insightful ideas have come to light in these meetings and subsequently to fruition via this forum.
These are only a few highlights of Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School. Continuous improvement to enhance learning for students drives our actions and decisions always keeping in mind the future of the children in our care.
- Band: DSUSD
- Front of Paige Middle School: DSUSD