We are a small 6th through 8th grade middle school of roughly 300 students. There are 4 classes per grade of which one is an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Nest class, while the remaining classes are Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT). Our exemplary teaching and facilitation, project based learning and mastery based grading, combined with technology and our various partnerships, allow our students to receive varied and unique opportunities to find areas of interest that inspire them to learn. We foster curiosity, instill social responsibility, and prepare students for high school, college and careers of the future. Our inquiry-based, individualized method of instruction allows us to meet the academic needs of every student.
RECOGNITION FOR INNOVATIVE PRACTICES:
MS 442 was selected as a New York City Showcase School for our use of Mastery Based Grading. Additionally, our innovation and use of technology has led to us being named Apple Distinguished School—the first in New York City.
1:1 STUDENT TO DEVICE RATIO:
As an Apple Distinguished School, each MS 442 student has access to their own MacBook and carries their device with them throughout the day. While they do not always use their computer in every class every day, students at MS 442 use technology as one of the many ways to demonstrate their learning and MS 442 teachers may use technology to individualize instruction so that every student is pushed to their maximum potential.
MASTERY BASED GRADING:
Grades at MS 442 are a method to promote a growth mindset and further achievement rather than simply a way to record progress. Learning outcomes are written in student-friendly "I can..." statements so that after completing projects and assignments students can receive feedback and grades that are meaningful, authentic, and actionable. Through continued effort and reflection, students take responsibility over their own learning. Read more about Mastery Based Grading here.
In addition to regular core classes, MS 442 students have intensives (additional ELA and Math classes) built into their schedule. Intensives change based on mastery data and allow students to be grouped with students on a similar level outside of their home class.
- If students are struggling with a topic that others in the class have mastered, students can be grouped in their intensive class to help master that skill.
- If students are mastering content, those students will be grouped together for their intensive and can begin to work on content tied to the standards at the next grade level.
Every MS 442 student meets with an assigned staff member weekly in either a small group or one-to-one, depending on the social and emotional needs of each student. During these mentoring sessions, students and mentors discuss how to improve mastery ratings, social-emotional health, set goals, and foster trusting and positive relationships.
PROJECT BASED LEARNING:
MS 442 worked with the Buck Institute to design projects that encompass a full unit of study. Students explore an essential question throughout a unit and are taught significant content as a guide to help answer the question. For example, a math class may ask how we can use ratios and proportion to create an emergency survival guide. Project Expo days are held twice a year for students to present to their families and peers.