Deerpark students and teachers come together as “FAMILY”


Deerpark Art Teacher, Michelle Stoeffler, with her FAMILY

Administration at Deerpark Middle School has declared the first 25 minutes of school from Tuesday through Friday as Focused, Accountable, Motivational, Integrity and You (FAMILY) time.

During those 25 minutes of FAMILY time, students receive the support of an experienced and trusted advisor who is responsible for educating the whole child. With FAMILY, students gain access to weekly social and emotional lessons and learn how to set, plan and pursue goals along with personal success tracking.

The objective is to guarantee that each student has someone who cares about them, assures them that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes it known to the student that they matter, Deerpark Principal Jonathan Smith said.

“We believe that it is our duty to support the development of greatness within all of our students,” Smith said. “Empowering our students to use that greatness encourages them to make their own paths for the betterment of our society.”

Monday FAMILY time has an additional objective. Each Monday, 25 minutes before the beginning of the different grade level lunch periods, staff and students assemble as a grade level to conduct Monday meetings. Initially, administrators facilitate the meetings with the goal being that the meetings become student led. Meeting topics include:

  • Discussions of school core values,
  • Presentation of relevant academic information pertaining to each grade level/age group,
  • Encourage dialogue between students, teachers, and admin regarding our strengths, area of growth, successes, and concerns,
  • Celebration of student, FAMILY (class), grade level, and school achievements,
  • A forum for students to share their participation and pride in their different student organizations,
  • Inspirational/motivational speakers,
  • McNeil High School staff and students and
  • Presentation and celebration of a variety of cultures and the experiences within them.

Middle school parent Elizabeth Miclat said FAMILY time has created a positive mood on campus and encourages her eighth-grade student to make a connection with his teacher.

“Middle schoolers need strong connections with family,” Miclat said. “We’ve had great teachers at Deerpark, they’re in tune with students and there is a lot of positive benefits when teachers connect with kids.”

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