Madison Middle School

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

James Madison Middle School has become a professional learning community through the deliberate development of a collaborative culture. The school was declining to a "D" in the Florida school grade system when Ms. Tomlinson became principal. She had successfully led her previous school to become an All Things PLC elementary, therefore she knew how student achievement is impacted when educators collaborate together for the success of every student.

Initially the district provided funding and training for a full day faculty learning prior to the start of the 2012-2013 school year. This professional development was centered around Marzano, Pickering, and Pollack's (2001) Classroom Instruction that Works and DuFour's (2006) Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work. The faculty learned about team effectiveness, focusing on the important work, integrating celebrations with building culture, and using norms, agendas and conflict resolution strategies to create the most effective collaboration. Departments met weekly throughout the year to problem solve the essential questions:  What is it we expect our students to learn?  How will we know when they have learned it?  What will we do when some students do not learn?  How will we respond when some students already know it? Throughout the year it became evident that teachers needed additional support in pedagogy before collaborative teams could have the maximum impact on every learner. Another discovery was the necessity to provide additional support for struggling learners. Meetings stopped being about school business and became professional development facilitated by teachers to share and improve practice.

In 2013-2014 the professional learning community began to focus on foundational understandings of standards. Teams worked together during extra planning time provided by district funds, where educators broke down and prioritized standards, while developing collective knowledge about what every student needs in each classroom to succeed. Resource teachers from the district joined the community and collaboration scheduling was added to the School Improvement Plan to ensure fidelity. Departments developed, administered, and analyzed common assessments. Additional intervention and acceleration were added to the school day.

Now Madison values professional development and learning from one another through rich conversations focused on the needs of every student and building teacher capacity to meet those needs. We have become interdependent!


1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Due to the work in our professional learning community, a variety of monitoring systems have been implemented. Incoming 7th graders meet with administration to develop relationships prior to attending Madison. Our Literacy Coach meets with feeder school coaches to discuss incoming strugglers and gain insight for placement and intervention. In addition, all of our feeder school 6th graders take a math assessment to determine needs. Information is compiled in a district database which makes comparisons and disaggregation possible. All Early Warning Indicators are used to identify the highest risk students in academics, attendance, and any other additional barriers or disadvantages and this data is analyzed for every student to determine intervention, acceleration, and emotional needs. Once students are in the classrooms, teachers use exit tickets, common formative assessments, computerized programs (iReady and Reading Plus), and other progress monitoring tools to determine student response to instruction and plan next steps. Through collaboration, a school wide instructional rubric was developed to align with School Improvement Plan goals. Instructional coaches and admininistration, join with teachers to walk through classrooms to collect data based on this school wide instructional rubric. The data is compiled and analyzed for coaching conversations and differentiated professional development and support.

Technology is used to communicate standards mastery and other pertinent information. Grades are posted each week and grade reports are provided every 4.5 weeks. Teachers use Grade Cam to provide immediate feedback to each student, which encourages assignment and assessment correction or reteach in an effort to meet the success criteria. Students reflect and set goals after analyzing their assessment data and grades in data chats and Student Led Conferences. Since teachers dedicate time to deeply understand standards and teach to the rigor of their standards, it became evident that students also needed to share in this deep understanding. Thus, Madison has begun to use Learning Scales to help students determine their individual progress towards mastery of priority standards. Now teachers are using common assessment tasks and learning scales to inform instruction and help students see where they are performing compared to the standard.

Teams meet regularly to problem solve academics and behavior needs. Content area teams meet weekly to analyze data and plan interventions and extensions. Madison faculty tried teaming in the past, but since we are such a small school, students ended up tracking and classes became less heterogeneous. The benefit of a small faculty is that teachers have time daily to check in with each other regarding shared students and plan formal meetings with one another to problem solve and meet with parents. Monthly teachers meet with Exceptional Education Specialists to determine interventions and progress monitoring of students struggling academically and behaviorally. The faculty meets monthly in chosen groups to look at discipline data and problem solve using Positive Behavior Interventions and Restorative Practice.

Student attendance data is monitored and the guidance team follows up regularly with families to ensure students are in school.

2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

Teachers dedicate common planning time to plan rigorous and standards based Tier 1 instruction to meet the differentiated needs of every learner. Before and after school tutoring is provided by classroom teachers and open to any student in need. Our block schedule provides teachers with adequate time to differentiate instruction. Madison students are the only in the district who take 8 classes, instead of 7, which gives us more flexibility for enrichment and intervention.

Every student who needs Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention support in reading has an additional class in their schedule to provide intensive standards based support.

Students with disabilities are included in all general education core classes and have an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) certified support facilitation teacher who teaches and collaborates with the content area teacher to provide additional small group or individualized time and support throughout the school day. 14% of our ESE students are cognitively delayed and have a self-contained classroom, but our school works diligently to have as many students from that classroom in the least restrictive environment that meets each student's academic and emotional needs. Madison also offers social/emotional instruction and learning strategies within the school day for every single ESE student.

In addition to all of the extra classes we provide students for academic and behavioral intervention, Madison offers Power Hour. Students who need additional instruction or time are assigned to core academic intervention where an ELA, Math, Science or Social Studies teacher provides reteaching and support. Teachers determine who needs this based on the weekly grade report and formative assessments. When students do not need additional support, they participate in their chosen extension activity where they build relationships with other students and often different teachers. This time is very important because students at Madison can live up to an hour away, which makes it very difficult for some students to attend before or after school clubs and tutoring.

Content area teacher teams use an agenda template to keep the work focused on the four questions and data analysis. Through this process, teams have analyzed common assessments to differentiate instruction. Teachers share effective lessons and strategies, but they also share students that might respond better to a different strategy or needs to join a group for intervention/extension.

Three times a year every student takes a reading assessment that determines proficiency with reading skills and standards. This data is analyzed to measure growth in reading ability throughout the year. Every student performing below grade level receives intervention outside of their core English language Arts class and their progress is monitored weekly. The Literacy Team moves students in and out of intervention any time a student needs support or meets success criteria. 


3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

This process began with quality professional development to provide faculty with the understanding of what high performing collaborative teams need to be successful. Teams include both grade levels and members who teach common content. Teams start with self-developed norms and use an agenda to keep focused. Teams are supported by peer mentor coaches and instructional coaches. An important piece of this work is that administration has structured the master schedule to include weekly common planning time and substitutes have been provided throughout the year for more extended time.

At the beginning of this process, Madison teachers worked in isolation, with very little collaboration or interdependence. Strong, professional, collegial relationships have been developed and now teachers work to find connection with each other regardless of subject area. Teachers take risks, share what works and what doesn't, and incorporate new learning regularly. This cultural shift is obvious to visitors and also evidenced in feedback on quarterly culture temperature surveys. This only happened because we became a Professional Learning Community with a foundation of mutual accountability, supports, and a commitment to one another and every student.

 PLC teams focus on the 4 guiding questions:

  • What do we want students to learn?
  • How will we know that they have learned it?
  • What will we do if they don’t learn it?
  • What will we do if they have already learned it?

Teams analyze data from multiple sources, including common assessments, and support each other with their development of instructional practices and planning lessons that align to the rigor and full intent of the standards to meet the needs of every learner.

Not only has teacher capacity developed with our understandings of what students are supposed to learn and be able to do (standards and rigor), the faculty has also studied Mindset by Carol Dweck and Better than Carrots or Sticks by Smith, Fisher, and Frey.

Madison's School Improvement Plan is a living document focused on continuous improvement. Progress monitoring of each goal throughout the year, leads to problem solving and action planning. Each teacher develops a professional growth plan that aligns with the School Improvement Plan goals and narrows the focus to personal growth that supports school wide needs. These plans begin with a SMART goal to guide practice and include collaboration and feedback from peers and administrators to support improvement of instructional practices.

Madison teachers have presented best practices at the district, state, and national level. We have even been privileged to plan, present, and attend Bill and Melinda Gates' Teacher Convening ECET2 district and statewide. The Literacy Coach co-presented about Professional Learning Communities at a national conference. Hattie's research from visible learning is infused into ongoing professional development.


Additional Achievement Data

The 2013-2014 school year was the last year students were assessed on the Sunshine State Standards, while teachers also taught the new Florida Standards (called Common Core at that time). That year they were assessed in Reading, seperate from Writing, Math, and Algebra. In 2015 students were assessed on our current standards in English Language Arts (reading and writing combined), Math, Algebra, and Civics. Science Standards have remained the same. Brevard is one of a few districts in the state with 6th grade in the elementary schools. Other districts notice a dip in scores between 5th and 6th grade, while our 6th grade scores remain stable. Then when students come to middle school as 7th graders, our scores dip district wide. In 2014 the school grade was a "D" and now it has improved to a "C" because of annual learning gains of our subgroups. Historical data indicated Madison's ongoing performance decline, but instead the trajectory has reversed and student achievment now shows improvement. Madison was in Differentiated Accountability (DA) status with the state of Florida, but through school wide collaboration we are no longer in DA status.

  FCAT READING Grade 6-8
FSA English Language Arts
% Level 3 or Above
FCAT MATH Grade 6-8
All Mathematics (FSA and EOCs)
% Level 3 or Above
FCAT EOC ALG % level 3 or above Grade 4-8
FSA Algebra 1 EOC
% Level 3 or Above
FCAT Science % level 3 or above Civics EOC % Level 3 or higher
  2014 2015 2016 2014 2015 2016 2014 2015 2016 2014 2015 2016 2014 2015 2016
State 57% 52% 52% 52% 55% 56% 89% 83% 88% 49% 48% 48% 61% 65% 68%
Brevard 67% 61% 61% 61% 66% 67% 93% 79% 87% 57% 55% 55% 68% 73% 74%
Madison 7th 49% 33% 42% 49% 39% 51%             56% 57% 60%
Madison 8th 50% 48% 39% 36% 41% 37% 78% 67% 91% 39% 39% 37%      

Awards 2017

• Bright Ideas Grant – Florida License to Learn Funding totaling $1500
This grant was used to create a Civil Rights Museum, as well as increase support and engagement for Literacy Week.

• Digital Classroom Plan - This grant was funded by the State of Florida Department of Education to provide additional technology support and resources for teachers and students. Three hundred (300) Lenovo Yoga Laptops, 10 secured charging carts, improved wireless access points school wide, as well as professional development was secured for faculty and staff.

  • Recognized by the Florida Department of Education as a Five Star School.  To earn this award, a school must show that it has achieved all of the benchmarks and criteria in five categories:  Community/Business Partnerships, Family Involvement, Volunteerism, Student Community Service and School Advisory Council.  Schools must earn a grade of "C" or above or have a school improvement rating of "Maintaining" or "Commendable" for the year being recognized.


  • Positive Behavior Intervention Support Silver School Award 2016-2017

• Brevard County Mainland Science Fair - Seven (7) projects were developed and implemented by nine students (2 team projects, and 5 individual projects). Three projects were awarded with one 3rd place award, and two 4th place awards.

• Brevard County Music Performance Assessment - Advanced Band earned the following awards:  Stage Performance - Superior, Sight Reading - Excellent, Overall Performance Rating - Superior. 

• Scripts National Spelling Bee – Madison's spelling bee winner achieved 8th place in the Brevard County Scripts National Spelling Bee.

• Brevard County Band Solo and Ensemble Music Performance Assessment -  Madison students in both 7th and 8th grade earned the following ratings: 

o Superior rating:
3 – grade 3 solos
9 – grade 2 solos
1 – grade 1 solo
o Excellent:
1 – grade 3 solo
1 – grade 1 solo

• InSCIed Out - In an effort to engage students in inquiry driven science learning, Mayo Clinic Scientists have partnered with James Madison Middle School teachers to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum project focused on inquiry. Teachers from various content areas collaborated and participated in an internship with Mayo Clinic diving into science and pedagogy.

• Due to our unique block schedule students participate in eight classes each school year where traditional schedules only offer seven during the school year, allowing for an extra class of intervention or enrichment.

• Students are offered the opportunity to participate in high school credit courses – Algebra, Geometry, Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Digital Information Technology.

• Brevard County Exemplary Math Teacher 2015 – Benny Boyd