Billings Middle School strives to foster the growth, independence, creativity, and maturity of our students. We believe that all middle school students need support at one time or another—whether this is academic, social, emotional, physical, or a combination of these.
Support at Billings begins with our teachers. In addition to the classroom expertise of our teachers, Billings has a variety of tools we use to meet student needs. These include student advisory groups, study skills classes, recommended testing, and small group or 1:1 tutoring at The Learning Center.
At Billings, every teacher gets to know each student on an individual basis. Teachers serve as grade level advisors, meeting weekly to discuss students holistically and to determine how best to meet student needs. From time to time, a student may require support beyond the classroom. The way that we initiate any conversation regarding student support is through our Student Referral System (SRS). The SRS referral form is a simple document that can be completed by a parent, teacher, or student for the purpose of seeking either academic or counseling support. Depending upon the situation, a plan will be developed that might include any of the following:
• A classroom intervention involving modification of instructional approach
• BASE Homework support
• TLC tutoring
• Parent support through TLC or School Counselor
• Outside tutoring, or
• Professional assessment and/or testing.
One-on-one support is provided by either professionals from outside tutoring services or faculty members. Billings has a standing relationship with many of the city's top tutors. This relationship provides us with the ability to best match their expertise with a student's needs and greatly increases the quality of communication between the tutor and the school and family.
Students often meet individually with tutors during the school day, usually during a study hall, language class, or reading period. Students and tutors usually meet 1-3 times per week. Some families choose to maintain tutoring hours over the holidays and vacations, as well as during summer break.
The Learning Center at Billings (TLC) is directed by Greg Smith, an experienced tutor and educator. Greg facilitates learning support for Billings students and provides tutoring sessions both during and after school.
There is a weekly 1-hour after-school drop-in Math Clinic monitored by at least two math teachers.
In lieu of separate social studies and science classes, 8th graders take Integrated Human Sciences. To help with learning the chemistry required, as well as other class projects, there are weekly after-school drop-in IHS Clinics where students can work with their teachers.
At Billings, we have replaced counseling with our advisory system. Because of our advisory program, the school does not employ a counselor. In addition to individual academic strategies for students, our teachers serve as advisors with their families to support students’ social and emotional growth.
Head of School Ted Kalmus leads the 8th grade Advisory team and high school counseling effort. Because our students go on to attend many different high schools, we work closely with each family to help identify the best possible match. Every family in the school has access to high school counseling to ease this important discussion about the next transition on the academic journey.
As active participants in the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS), Billings faculty leaders are knowledgeable about both public high schools and local private independent schools.