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Antigo Middle School

Grade Level
Middle School

Regular self-assessment helps schools and districts focus on areas for growth.

In the 2017 – 18 school year, Antigo Middle School took their Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) and Staff Assessment Survey (SAS), which both uncovered a need to improve family and community engagement. 

Concurrently, a two-year plan to consolidate school buildings and realign grade levels was announced across the Unified School District of Antigo. The middle school would grow from serving grades 6 – 8 learners to grades 4 – 7 learners. The middle school PBIS leadership team felt it was the perfect time to focus on family and community engagement and add more chairs to the table for their growing rural school family.

For two years, they dug deep into the district’s family and community supports by focusing on the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) systems. Each of the PTOs had a unique approach and process for how they served their school community. For example, some PTOs raised funds to send students to the state capital, while other students did not get the same opportunity. “We want to provide equitable opportunities for all students,” said Heather McCann, associate principal.  

Paying particular attention to caregiver input

During 2018-19, they held district-wide PTO open forum meetings to discuss school community needs through an equity lens. They looked for specific indicators tied to equity, examined the current functions of the PTOs, and documented discrepancies across the buildings.

“Through the open forum conversations, we thought it best to create some uniformity,” McCann said. 

A determination was reached to form one, unified organization based around partnerships with all administration, staff, and caregivers invited to participate. Caregivers is the equitable term given to representatives who care for students when they are not in school. This thought leadership moved away from the organization being a source of financial funding to one which builds strong partnerships.

“Every child needs a champion”

In the summer of 2018, six school staff members and four caregivers from each school met intensively to develop the new organization. They were responsible for the why (vision and mission), agendas, requests, and communication channels that would sustainably support all schools, students, and caregivers.

“Communication was well executed between the team and the administrators, central office, and school board during the transition,” said McCann, which would ultimately lead to successful adoption of the new organization. 

When it came to discussing finances before the consolidation, each PTO independently decided what they wanted to do with their individual funds. Every PTO in the district donated their PTO money to the new organization. Coined CHAMPS, Caregivers Helping and Motivating Partnerships in Schools program, the revision of the previous PTO systems was now designed to collectively leverage partnerships from all schools within the district.

High impact

Family and community engagement activities are rated from low impact to high impact. Five years ago, Antigo Middle family engagement activities were portrayed in the resource as low impact strategies. All their assessment data was telling them there was a need to improve their family and community engagement. Now, they are engaging in high impact activities across the district and starting to see entry points to refining their processes.