We would like to welcome you to Robin Mickle Middle School and are thankful that you were willing to talk with us today. A little bit about ourselves…in September of 1960, Robin Mickle Junior High was opened and became the third junior high school built in Lincoln. Mr. Mickle was the director of counseling at Northeast High School when it opened in 1940 and later became principal from 1945 until 1957. As is symbolic of the strong Northeast Lincoln community ties, 94% of our current eighth graders will choose to attend Lincoln Northeast High School. In 1960, our Mickle mascot was chosen as the “missile”. The rationale was that Mickle students grow to later become Northeast Rockets. In many of our current building representations, we hold to that ‘rapid travel’ theme.
Early on, Mickle established a reputation as a strong junior high school. This reputation encouraged a rapid growth of homes in our Northeast Lincoln area. Four years after opening, enrollment grew quickly and ten additional rooms were needed. The “East Wing” of the building was ready for classroom use in January 1964, growing Mickle’s capacity from 750 students to 1000 students.
In September of 1993, Mickle transitioned away from ‘junior high’ to the ‘middle level’ philosophy. “Houses” were introduced and more developmentally appropriate curriculum was adopted. Sixth graders entered Mickle and ninth grade students and courses were transferred to Northeast High School. Ten years later, the entire LPS district moved to the current model of elementary at K-5, middle at 6-8, and high school at grades 9-12.
In 2009, LPS finished a $12.5 million dollar renovation of Mickle that included an addition of 12 classrooms, 2 computer labs, a counseling center, a gym, a fitness room, elevator access to the “East Wing”, and adding a ground-coupled heat pump system to provide energy efficient heating and air-conditioning to the entire facility. Currently, Mickle is in the finishing stages of an all building painting update.
Getting Mickle Ready For The Future! Behind the scenes, the building’s wireless internet has increased and is now capable handling 30-40 wireless units per room. Also added were teacher presentation projectors/monitors to each room. Audio enhancement speaker systems now exist in each classroom for even distribution of the teacher voice and video clips. In 2018, presentation video recording capabilities will be installed. These efforts are in concert with the LPS 1-1 student technology initiative (CLASS). Currently, our students all have individual Chromebooks to use both at school and at home.
Of course, student and adult learning are the primary focus of Mickle. Our school improvement goal is to improve achievement in all areas through the use of literacy strategies & increase the engagement level of all students in all classes. Within our professional learning communities, the narrower focus exists to eliminate education gaps between sub-groups. As is done throughout LPS, Mickle teachers meet monthly in professional learning communities (PLCs) and in flexible times to collaborate on the best strategies to meet the needs of our students. Our want it to improve instruction and assessment to ensure that all students leave Mickle prepared for success in high school and beyond. The best practice to meet these needs is by following the district Data Team process as modeled by Steve Ventura. Last summer and during this school year, we grew in our classroom abilities by implementing the works of Anita Archer’s “Explicit Instruction”. Next school year, we will look again as a building at the text by Eric Jensen “Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind”. All of these learnings tie into the district belief that the best instruction comes from teachers that plan lessons following BJ Stone in her research of “Classroom Instruction That Works 2”.
Mickle is a PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) school. Our model is based on the tenets of Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful. Our focus is being a Learner today and growing into a Leader tomorrow. We have school wide processes in place to celebrate successes and so do individual classrooms. The program is based on the philosophy that most students have correct school habits and have the knowledge and ability to regulate their behavior. We work to let students know that WE recognize their correct habits. When students need reminders on how their choices affect themselves and those around them, we also have a strategy for teachers. The terminology used for the beginning phases of this process is called Think Time. It provides students with the opportunity to separate from a situation, reset themselves to being “productive during learning”, and then rejoin with limited interruption of the learning climate for themselves or others.
Mickle students in each grade are organized into ‘houses’. Our sixth grade students work with teachers as “Apollo” and “Mercury” students. Two houses, “Pathfinder” and “Challenger” are comprised of seventh graders, and two houses, “Explorers” and “Stars” are comprised of eighth graders. Core curriculum courses include English, math, science, and social studies teachers. We also offer a full compliment of academic connection classes for students. Teachers do find common planning time and can cooperatively plan activities for students, celebrate student successes, and coordinate SAT support for struggling students. Our counselors transition with their grade level students and families during all three of their middle school years. The organization of our building layout supports the ability to host common grade level students in grade specific hallways with easy access to their lockers close to core teacher classrooms.
Working at Mickle is a special combination of challenge and reward. Now entering our next 50 years…we know that Mickle is in a transition period for young adults. Our staff (new and veteran) have ideas and perspectives that we value. We thank you for interest in us at Mickle where, together, we are the future without limits!