Howard M. Phifer Middle School provides a quality educational program for the students of Pennsauken. The program is designed to provide an appropriate transition from the intermediate classroom to high school. Phifer Middle School is structured into smaller learning communities in which teams of six teachers focus their attention on a small number of students. The teams have opportunities to plan unified lessons and collaborate in a smaller community setting. Each learning community is located in its own instructional wing. Each grade level is assigned an assistant principal.
In recent years the curriculum of the school has focused on improving the achievement of the students in language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. Students receive a double period of instructional time each day in Language Arts and Mathematics, and a double period of instruction every other day in Physical Education and Related Arts. Science and Social Studies are taught based on a block schedule.
Seventh and eighth grade students will continue their Intermediate School coursework in the “Common Core” based Connected Mathematics Program, following a double period of instruction each day. The double period permits teachers to fully implement the Connected Mathematics Program and reinforce previously learned skills using daily warm-ups.
The students of the middle school will only reach their full academic potential if teachers, parents and administrators work closely together. Recent efforts have been made to involve parents in the academic process. Parents may access the Parent Portal to monitor student progress and attendance. Each student is given a Daily Assignment Book. Students are encouraged to list their assignments for each subject in the notebook. Parents are encouraged to check and initial the book nightly and to review the completed homework assignments weekly. A Friday signature is required for homework credit. The middle school also provides homework assistance to the school community through their teams’ homework clubs.
Administration and faculty continue to work toward improving the instructional schedule. Seventh and eighth grade programs are in place to make efficient use of the instructional time. A modified block schedule has been implemented throughout the day. This strategy allows teachers to make better use of time and activities. Thematic units and inter-disciplinary lessons will be planned during these scheduled blocks of time.
The middle school also offers a full range of co-curricular activities. These activities include student council, yearbook, newspaper and stage band. The sports program includes interscholastic sports. Seventh and eighth grade interscholastic teams are maintained in basketball, field hockey, soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse, track and wrestling.
Parents are encouraged to attend school orientation meetings, parent-teacher conferences and scheduled PTA meetings in order to learn more about the challenges which face our school and the daily successes of our students and teachers. More specific information about dates and procedures can be found in the parent handbook mailed before the beginning of classes.
Regular monthly mailings include a school calendar and hints for parents to help their middle level learners. To enhance home and school communications, e-mail addresses will be added to all student files. Mid-marking period progress reports will indicate the student’s letter grade average for each subject on the child’s schedule.