Finley Junior High School

About Finley Junior High School

The mission of the Chicago Ridge Public School District 127.5 is to holistically educate each child to reach his/her full potential by providing a safe educational environment in which students, teachers, and the community create enthusiasm for lifelong learning.

We believe in the importance of dignity and self-esteem, in respecting individual differences and in academic excellence. We believe that it is our responsibility to prepare students to successfully learn and work in the 21st Century. We believe in the importance of providing a friendly, safe and challenging academic environment designed to address the needs of middle school aged children.

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.

                                                      - Booker T. Washington

All About Finley…reaching for excellence!

Each developmental stage in children has unique characteristics, but the changes that take place in children between the ages of eleven and fourteen, are particularly dramatic. The challenge of the educators in the middle school is to meet the unique needs of young people, who not only experience rapid emotional and physical change but differ widely in their maturity. They are not simply older, larger versions of elementary school children; nor are they smaller, "junior" versions of high school students. Children in this age group need educational programs that differ from those offered in both elementary and high schools.

At Finley, we strive to meet the needs of this important age group, serving sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students, in a child-centered environment, utilizing a modified middle school approach. One of the major components of our school environment has been the implementation of a "school within a school" approach. For more than ten years we have provided a program design with students at each grade level-sixth, seventh, and eighth-divided into teams. Each team is made up of teachers who specialize in the major academic subjects and a group of students who are the teachers' sole teaching responsibility. The teachers on each team share common lunch and planning periods and meet regularly to implement the curriculum and work with other school personnel such as the social worker, special education staff, and the school nurse. Our scheduling is based on a modified blocked schedule to support cross-curricular instruction.

Offering a strong core academic program for all students is essential in a middle school, with the major subject areas identified as math, science, language arts (reading and English), and social studies. These four subject areas make up the core curriculum and each team includes specialists in these areas. Since the 2007 - 08 school year, we have offered Spanish to qualifying students. Technology is incorporated into all curricular areas. Each student also has an instructional advisory period with a teacher who is available to assist students as needed.

Our instructional program is further designed to ensure that all students have opportunities for success in school. We encourage cooperative learning and offer other school experiences and activities that involve all students and help them succeed. We offer advanced math programs that include instruction in algebra to qualified students.

Communication between the school and the family and the involvement of parents and the community with the school are important aspects of the middle school philosophy. Each team of teachers carefully and constantly monitors student progress and communicates with parents. Each school year, team teachers hold conferences with the parents of each student on their team; and they communicate, as appropriate, between conferences.

Good health and physical fitness are important for all students, especially as they affect academic performance. Our students participate in physical education and health classes each school day.

Students are further encouraged to participate in other sports activities in our conference sports program and other programs offered by the park district. In our health classes, wellness and substance-abuse programs encourage our students to make healthy lifestyle choices.