The Tamaqua Area Middle School Accreditation For Growth (AFG) Planning Team, consisting of students, teachers, parents, board members, and community members met with faculty members, met with faculty members last Thursday to discuss implementation plans to increase student achievement over the next seven years.

The team's first objective by 2017 is to have Tamaqua Area Middle School students demonstrate improved proficiency in the areas of math, reading, science, and geography, as measured by a future increase in the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced on the PSSA Math, Reading, and Science tests.

Their objective also measured by a 10 percent increase in the number of students taking and passing advanced math courses, an increase in the number of Accelerated Reader quizzes taken by students, and a decrease in the number of students failing math, reading, language arts, and geography.

The team's second objective by 2017 will demonstrate improved decision-making skills in the area of life choices.

Its third objective involves demonstrating an increase in the quality and frequency of communication with students, parents, community and staff.

The last objective involves a possible demonstration to increase the number of technological resources available to students and teacher.

All of these objectives, have action plans that the team puts together to make its implementation plans.

The middle school is seeking accreditation from the Middle States Association for Secondary Schools and Colleges.

The accreditation process known as AFG or Accreditation for Growth is being utilized by the school as it prepares for final evaluation to be held during the first week of November.

During that week, a visitation team will spend three and one half days at the school to evaluate whether or not the school meets standards set forth by Middle States.

The TAMS AFG Planning Team first met in November 2009 when it began analyzing a survey that students, teachers, parents, and faculty completed as part of a self-study that would pinpoint ways the school could improve its educational program.

Over the past seven months, committees formed within the TAMS AFG Planning Team worked together to identify areas of concern, set goals to meet those needs, and plan for how to meet those goals over the next seven years.

The team is composed of students, teachers, community members, school board members, and administration.

The accreditation process fosters stakeholder involvement and commitment, and it also builds positive public relations.

The Tamaqua Middle School looks forward to working with parents, students, and members of the community to achieve the goals set in the plan.

Internal coordinators for the Tamaqua Area Middle School AFG Planning Team are Tamaqua Middle School teachers Kristine Schellhammer and Megan Frantz.