Palmer Middle School Continues Earning Recognitions for Helping Students Succeed

Palmer Middle School Recognized for Helping Students Succeed.

On the heels of Palmer Middle School joining an elite group of schools across the country as a National AVID Demonstration School, Palmer was once again recognized for how the school is helping each and every student succeed. 

Having identified Palmer as a school leading extraordinary work, representatives from Learn4Life chose to visit the Cobb middle school to learn their secret and identify strategies to share with other middle schools. The visit recognized how Palmer is “beating the odds,” according to the school’s data results for our Black and Hispanic students compared to other middle schools throughout the metropolitan Atlanta Area.

IMG_1681.jpeg“At Palmer, our school mission is to “Empower ALL students for Success.” The most important key to our success is our remarkable staff- teachers, front office and support staff, counselors, cafeteria workers, custodial workers, and bus drivers. They support our students and one another with a passion and dedication that is second to none,” declared Palmer Principal Shannon Kiger.

The representatives were blown away by the success they saw at Palmer and understood why Palmer students outperform their regional peers. According to the team from Learn4Life, there is a reason why the school is outperforming the region.

“You can feel the culture and support throughout the building. We walked away with a lot of learnings and deep respect for the teachers and staff at Palmer,” one visitor said. 

They described the visit as informative and inspiring and especially loved hearing directly from Palmer students. IMG_1694.jpeg

Following the visit from Learn4Life, members of the Georgia Education Policy Fellowship Program selected Palmer as a school that is thriving and wanted to learn firsthand how the faculty and staff are creating and sustaining a school culture that’s yielding academic success.

The Georgia Education Policy Fellowship Program, which is sponsored by Georgia Performance of Excellence in Education, focuses on supporting the learning and development of professionals wanting to grow as leaders, broaden their networks, and deepen their understanding of education policy. Since September, the fellows have been on a journey, learning about Georgia’s shifting demographics, school funding, and policymaking, as well as the intersections of healthcare, housing, and juvenile justice. All of these topics are intended to give them an expansive view of what’s going on in Georgia and how the different pieces of the education puzzle fit together.

The visit to Palmer helped the fellows bring their content knowledge into a real-life context.

IMG_1685.jpegWhen both groups visited, Palmer staff explained the tactics that have contributed to the school’s success, including Schoolwide AVID Strategies and AVID Connections Class, PBIS (with a multitude of Student and Staff Recognitions for Academics, Behavior, and Attendance), Counseling Program, IEL/ESOL Program, and Intervention Strategies as examples.  

The guests toured Palmer classrooms to witness the impactful instruction in action. Student AVID Ambassadors led the tours. The Palmer students shared examples of their Interactive Binders and Focused Note Taking and gave personal testimonies about their experiences at Palmer. 

“At Palmer, it is evident we celebrate, embrace, and value the contributions of ALL in our school environment…all students and all staff! Our students are seen for the beautiful, diverse individuals they are. We are intentional in recognizing the positive accomplishments of both students and staff. We really are one team,” shared Jordan Hazard, Palmer Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023 and the school presenter for the two visits. 

In addition to the most recent recognitions, Palmer also stands out as one of America’s Healthiest Schools this year and its Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program jumped to the top level for how Palmer supports students. 

Behind Palmer’s success are the school’s educators, including Palmer social worker Ginnie Barnes, the Cobb County Social Worker of the Year, and Palmer art teacher Nicole Gaut, who recently was named Georgia Middle School Art Teacher of the Year.