• Implementation of middle school best practice in a K-8 school: a case study of the planning year for Barnette Magnet School in Fairbanks, Alaska

      Smith-Thomas, Colleen; Lipka, Jerry; Rickard, Anthony; Reyes, Maria Elena; Monahan, John (2006-12)
      This study used a case study design to investigate the planning year for Barnette Magnet School, which opened in the fall of 2005. The conversion to a K-8 school is met with some difficulty by school districts across the nation because, while there are many benefits to keeping these 7th and 8th grade adolescents in their neighborhood elementary school where supportive relationships have already been developed, the fact remains that they have different social, emotional and academic needs than either elementary or high school students. This case study seeks to examine the current research into best educational practice for this age group and to what extent the planning of the magnet school aligned with this research. The data revealed that the Magnet School, by implementing an innovative school-wide structure based on exploratory curriculum and dynamic interactions between school and community, generally did align its plans to what is considered best practice for adolescents. Several areas of weakness are identified and described.