Middle School Principal Darren Hack

DuBois Area Middle School Principal Darren Hack gave a mid-year report on the school at this month’s board meeting.

DuBOIS — Achievement is celebrated at the DuBois Area Middle School, Principal Darren Hack and Assistant Principal Michael Maholtz told the DuBois Area School Board.

“We’re very proud of our PRIDE program, which is our ‘positive behavioral support program,’ where we stress how students should behave,” said Hack. “We have rules throughout the building about how students should act in those areas. Through this program, we recognize students of the month. We do a boy and a girl for each grade level.”

Also, the middle school celebrates achievement through its DMS Good Kids Award, in which each teacher can nominate a student. The students are recognized at the end of each quarter with a letter from Hack, a picture on the Nice Kid banner, as well as a window decal for their parents.

Maholtz said each team provides incentive days for various activities that they host.

“Something we are very proud of is our student-led community outreach,” Maholtz said. “It was very hard to narrow this down because our faculty and our students contribute to our community in so many ways, but there are a couple things that we do.”

One of them is the Chomp Out Hunger program.

“Our program is unique. It’s also a backpack program, but it is completed by our Life Skills classroom. They prepare the backpacks weekly. We are currently providing backpacks for 23 families twice weekly. We’re very proud of that,” Maholtz said.

Hack said the middle school continues to use its clothing closet, which is supported by the Parent Teachers Student Association in the community. These are still helping children to get clothes, like their gym clothes, coats, sweatshirts, and also clothes to address dress code violations.

“Also, something we’re really proud of we started this year, was during the Christmas season, our faculty was able to provide 30 Christmas dinners for our families that were less fortunate,” Hack said.

Last week, the school was planning and finalizing its Step Up Life Skills Snowball Dance which will be held today (Tuesday).

“It’s a very special event. If you have the opportunity, it would be something for you to come see in our gymnasium,” Maholtz said.

A new initiative this year at the middle school is the Leadership Academy, which is actually a STEAM academy. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. Maholtz said the program currently has two bikes which will be awarded to two foster families in the community.

“We’re very proud of that,” Maholtz said.

The middle school also has many interventions for success.

One of the initiatives supported by the board was the new and improved Beyond the Bell program, Hack said.

“Last year and in previous years, the middle school utilized AmeriCorps members to provide after-school tutoring,” Hack said. “But now, thanks to the funds, those funds, we can now utilize our staff, our certified teachers, to provide interventions for those students on Mondays and Wednesdays. We still continue to utilize our Thursday academic intervention program for struggling learners, as well. So, three nights a week we’re able to have interventions for students who need it.”

Maholtz said something the school piloted last year with two eighth-grade teams, during enrichment periods now, teachers are providing personalized instruction, small group instruction, to provide students with interventions. The curriculum is being enhanced during that time as well.

Hack also mentioned the Read 180 program in which middle school students go to Cen-Clear pre-school on Beaver Drive and read to students there.

“That’s really a great program. Our students get a big kick out of it and get to read, and their students get to see and listen to big kids. We’re really excited about that program,” Hack said.

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