Cramerton earns national recognition as a Paideia Seminar School
Cramerton Middle School has earned the Paideia Seminar Nationally Certified School recognition, which is a distinction bestowed upon only six schools in North Carolina.
The school conducted a ceremony on March 29 to celebrate the honor. Among the featured speakers were Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker, National Paideia Center assistant director Jeremy Spielman, and Andrea Miers, Lilli Dixon, and Katie Potter, who shared the teacher, student, and parent perspectives. Principal Kevin Doran presided over the ceremony, and student Sanaa Swain led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Doran says the Paideia Seminar is making a difference in student achievement by encouraging students to use what they learn, understand how it applies to their lives, and realize how it will help them later on in high school, college, and the workplace.
“Paideia has been essential to our success,” said Doran. “The Paideia Seminar model is designed to engage students in critical thinking, improve their communication skills, and encourage them to be involved in an active learning process.”
Doran continued, “The seminar approach moves our students beyond just learning subject content. It challenges them to focus on analyzing, processing, and applying knowledge so they are better students at school and they are better people in the community – that is what education is all about.”
Doran recalls the first time he saw Paideia in action at Cramerton.
“I walked into one of our seventh grade classrooms and heard the students carrying on an insightful and enlightening conversation. There were great points being made by the students that were backed up by research and evidence,” he explained. “There was strong emotion, and even though there was some disagreement, it was an environment where feelings and thoughts were respected and all students were able to be heard.”
Doran added, “I was so impressed with what I saw, and I realized, in that moment, there is power in the Paideia model – it is a game changer for learning.”
Miers, who teaches seventh grade language arts, said she had not been involved in seminar-style learning since being in college. When the Paideia Seminar model was introduced to teachers at Cramerton, she knew initially that it would be a good way to involve students in presenting and discussing ideas.
“The Paideia Seminar is not just something we do once in a while, and it is more than simply a discussion,” said Miers. “Paideia is a practice, a method for teaching and listening, an ongoing dialogue, and one of the most valuable ways to enhance motivation and learning in the classroom.”
“I have the opportunity to incorporate seminars into my everyday lessons, and I’ve experienced countless powerful moments,” explained Miers. “I’ve watched hesitant students speak up. I’ve had students share thoughts that have connected them to their peers, and I’ve watched confidence build and a sense of community develop. This is what drives student engagement and makes learning a memorable experience.”
Cramerton Middle School is home to Gaston County Schools’ Gifted and Talented Academy for grades 6-8. Doran said the Paideia Seminar has become the foundation for the Academy, and it is producing positive results. He looks forward to seeing how incorporating Paideia will further enhance the school’s academic success.
Five reasons to brag about Cramerton Middle School
Cramerton is one of only six schools in North Carolina to earn the Paideia Seminar Nationally Certified School distinction.
Cramerton is home to Gaston County Schools’ Gifted and Talented Academy for grades 6-8. The highly-successful Paideia Seminar model has become the foundation for the Academy.
Among all of the middle schools in North Carolina, Cramerton is in the top 15 for academic achievement, which is very significant since there are more than 700 middle schools in the state.
Last year, Cramerton ranked in the top five percent for student growth in academics – the school exceeded its overall growth expectations and also exceeded academic growth in both reading and math, which is very difficult to do.
Cramerton is the highest-ranking middle school in Gaston County for student proficiency on end-of-year state tests.
Watch on Channel 21
The Paideia Seminar Nationally Certified School ceremony was recorded, and it will air at various times in May and June on Spectrum Channel 21, which is the Education Station for Gaston County Schools.
Click here to visit our Channel 21 webpage for the weekly schedule.