In the Apex Small Learning Community, we work tirelessly to foster a community where students feel as though they are part of something special. In order to create this experience for our students, we place a strong focus on three pillars: relationships, growth, and celebration. We firmly believe if we are going to have any impact on a middle school student, a positive relationship must exist between the teacher and student. If you were to visit our community, you would see our teachers conversing with students beyond their class/subject, giving students high fives during passing periods, celebrating student achievements, and giving the occasional ‘push’ when it is necessary.  Without a relationship, we know we cannot grow our students to reach their potential academically, socially, and behaviorally.  Our students know we care about them and are willing to do whatever it takes to support them in their middle school journey.  


Our second pillar, growth, is stressed frequently in the Apex Community. From the start of the year to the end, we teach and reinforce the importance of having a “Growth Mindset” and how this mindset leads to success. Our students understand that the brain is malleable and when they fail it just means they have yet to master the skill and will continue to work at it until they succeed.  To help instill this mindset into our students, we require our students to chart their data during STAR classes: Grades, ClearSight scores, Ilearn scores, Lexile scores, and Attendance.  STAR teachers meet with students, often, to discuss their data.  Students are always eager to share their growth not only with their teachers, but  with their peers too.  It has been very rewarding to see our students embrace difficulty and persevere throughout the course of the year.  This trait will serve our students well in high school and beyond.  


Our last pillar, celebration, gives us an opportunity to recognize our students for their achievements.  Every month each teacher in Apex gets to choose one student to be their Student-of-the-Month recipient.  If chosen, students are recognized during lunch in front of their peers, given a certificate, and then eat lunch (Papa John’s Pizza) with their teachers. Also, the student’s picture gets taken and hung on the brag board in the Apex hallway. We also recognize students, twice a year, with the most growth on our ClearSight test in Math and ELA.  These students are also recognized in front of their peers during lunch, given a certificate, and a choice of ice cream.  Their pictures are taken and hung on the other brag board in the Apex hallway. These are just a couple of examples of how we celebrate student success in the Apex community and just another way to help students feel like they are part of something special.