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Building Teams in Middle School


NVUSD’s middle schools strive to foster an inclusive, equitable, responsive, restorative, and rigorous education, where students have a sense of belonging. This is done through many thoughtful and research-based approaches, one of which is “teaming.” In teaming, students are grouped in a cohort and share the same teachers for the entire school year in English, social studies, math, and science. Teachers meet a minimum of two times per week to discuss how they are meeting students’ needs, plan integrated curriculum and personalized learning, analyze and reflect on data and student work, discuss current research and reflect on practices, and address individual student concerns and daily operations. This approach allows teachers to effectively address and collaborate on the best ways to support students' academic and socio-emotional needs. 

Teaming has been in place for 6th-8th-grade students at Redwood Middle School and was added at Silverado and American Canyon Middle Schools (ACMS) this academic year. Providing the individualized attention and support of a small school environment within our larger comprehensive schools, with expansive programming and elective courses, is beneficial for students. Principal Peter Hartnack sees the positive impact of teaming at Redwood, sharing, “Teaming provides our students time and space to form positive connections with teachers and peers over their middle school years. These connections are especially important because middle school is a time when our student's brains are rapidly growing and developing.” 

ACMS parent and Community Liaison Karina Servente agrees the teaming approach is helpful adding, “My 8th grader has benefited greatly from teaming! Besides the academic side of it, which he likes a lot, the social-emotional side of teaming was a welcome and much-needed addition to his daily routine. He can be with friends during lunch, they are not split anymore like in past years…This helps him reconnect.” Another 8th-grade ACMS parent adds to Servente’s sentiments, “I'm seeing my daughter’s attention to her classes improve. I'm seeing her checking in online for her grades and her assignments, and she likes having the same people to go to when she has questions.”

Teachers echo these parent observations. Silverado Middle School English Teacher Miriam Kauffman believes her students are benefiting from teaming by getting to know each other better, building as a community, and growing as collaborators in class. She shares, “I think they are also benefiting from their teachers working together to troubleshoot and problem-solve around issues that come up with our shared students. Sometimes students are surprised when they realize their teachers have been talking about them, to their benefit!”

From enhancing students’ sense of belonging, social bonding, and connectedness to improving student achievement, family engagement, and outcomes, teachers and parents agree that teaming is enhancing the educational experience of NVUSD middle school students. That matters.

  • 02 - Middle Schools
  • American Canyon Middle School
  • Redwood Middle School
  • Silverado Middle School