Teacher of the Week: The Octet from Midway

The Youth Center of the High Plains is a very unique school as it's a school inside of a juvenile facility.

The facility is broken into six pods of 12 students. Because the pods cannot mix, students attend class according to what pod they are in. A 5th grade student may be in the same classroom with a 7th grade student, an 8th grade student, a 9th grade student and so on. Basically, each period is a one room school house with students from all grade levels. This is where this exceptional staff comes into play.

 In general, a typical classroom teacher instructs a single subject to a single grade level group of students. The teachers at the Youth Center teach multiple grade levels and multiple subjects in the same class 6 periods per day. This staff must juggle the levels of a 6th grade student alongside those of a Junior and/or a Senior at the same time. Each week, this staff must prepare multiple grade level lesson plans for the train station of students that come in and out of the Youth Center.

"Considering the revolving door of students that pass through the Youth Center on a monthly or even weekly basis, it is truly amazing how this staff was able to achieve 90% passing levels on the TAKS Exit Level exam, " Principal Shawn Neeley said. 

The math students received a Gold Level commendation from the state for a high level of Exit Level students passing the math portion of the exam in 2010.

"This is an exceptional group of teachers who prepare and work tirelessly, into instructing this often forgotten group of At-Risk students," he said.

 Research shows educating a child will lower that child's chances of criminal activity and/or repeating an offense. This group of teachers provides an outstanding education to these students under very strict guidelines, and with a guardian-like quality, help many of these students transition back into society.

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