Whole School Renewal

Resulting in High Performing Middle Grade Schools and Powerful Learning for Young Adolescents

  • Identify and build on exemplary practices that exist in your school
  • Help educators work together to foster a high performing, academically rigorous and developmentally appropriate middle level school
  • Raise academic achievement once plans are fully implemented

By customizing the process for each school, NELMS is saying, "Let's learn about your unique problems, think and plan together, and then work to increase achievement. We will do whatever it takes to help you implement best practices in your school and district."

Based on National Middle School Association's This We Believe, Successful Schools for Young Adolescents, the position statements and beliefs of NELMS, Breaking Ranks in the Middle and Turning Points 2000, our Individualized School Improvement Plan helps educators in schools create high performing middle level schools that allow for high level learning with each and every young adolescent. This plan is custom designed for you.

Plan Components

  • Analyze Data
    • Testing (national, state and/or local)
    • School generated data: report cards, behavior records, high school course and graduation data
  • Administer and collaboratively analyze NELMS Focus Assessments, as needed
  • Administer and collaboratively analyze NELMS School Assessments
  • Collaborate to develop a powerful multiyear school improvement master plan, build on the data and your strengths, and align with existing school plans
  • Develop professional development opportunities that are aligned with the plan
  • Design extensive onsite coaching to ensure adoption of the renewal
  • Provide assistance with grant writing to generate alternative sources of revenue

NELMS custom designs our plan and services based on current research, knowledge of young adolescents as learners, middle school best practices, and inferences drawn from our data analysis. We look at a variety of documents and data from your school, as well as information garnered by the highly acclaimed NELMS assessment process to establish the foundation for your school improvement activities.

Principled Structure

These include:

  • Educators knowledgeable of middle level education
  • Strong teacher/student, teacher/administrator and student/student relationships
  • Effective, productive, powerful teaming
  • Relevant active standardsaligned curriculum
  • Parent, community, and business involvement in student learning
  • Research based and innovative structures, schedules, and student groupings to address needs and learning requirements of each middle level adolescent

NELMS works within a structure based on principles and research results derived from effective middle level education.

Expected Results

When you work with NELMS you can expect these results:

  • Improved test scores and student achievement
  • Students engaged in challenging work
  • A school community focused on the tasks of high achievement for each student
  • Focused collaborative leadership by staff and administration
  • Improved student and staff morale
  • A structured curriculum aligned with state standards

As the direction becomes clear and the necessary steps known, NELMS will immediately focus on leadership, curriculum, instruction and assessment.


Leadership skills include:

  • Balancing collaboration with decisionmaking
  • Building consensus
  • Using research and data to guide decisions
  • Developing and prioritizing goals
  • Coaching best classroom practices
  • Working with difficult adults
  • Developing instructional leadership skills

Curriculum, instruction, and assessment

Curriculum, instruction, and assessment is based on state standards and how young adolescents learn best through the development of:

  • Teacher and student content knowledge
  • Cross curriculum connections
  • Learning strategies
  • Student literacy skills
  • Active, engaging differentiated instruction
  • Appropriate climate for learning

The development of effective leadership is imperative! The school leaders will plan and develop a vision of "what works" at the middle level to guide them as they make important decisions. We will assist you in developing a substantial group of teacher leaders who will help to nurture and sustain the renewal.

COMMITMENTS needed from you

NELMS requires these School District and Central Administration Commitments:

  • Strong, open, and honest communication systems
  • Strong, ongoing, visible support for the mutually developed vision from all in the central office
  • Stated and ongoing support for the renewal plan from school board or school committee
  • Supportive, encouraging, consistent messages free from punishment, but rich with appropriate accountability from all administrators
  • Alignment of the plan with necessary and adequate resources
  • Adequate onsite middle school resources including NELMS publications
  • Access to appropriate professional activities that NELMS offers throughout the relationship

For all of us to be successful, NELMS requires certain support and conditions from the school district and central administration. The entire system must be aligned in purpose and deed for this systemic reform to be achieved.


Our process is focused on student learning. We will not be drawn away from this mission. We advocate systematic standardsbased reform aligned with state standards. However, we offer you flexible implementation; not a lockstep, "canned" approach, and we offer participating schools the opportunity to network with other schools to learn and gain a wider perspective of "what works." For over thirty years, NELMS has been with middle level schools as they seek to meet the ongoing challenges of educating young adolescents. We will be with you now and in the future to insure your success!