Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in Skinner Middle School. Skinner is a traditional, comprehensive neighborhood middle school built around the needs and interests of middle school children. We encourage you to consider the quality experience Skinner will offer your child: strong school leadership, a supportive learning environment, award winning teachers, honors courses, 20 different elective options and middle school sports.

Why should my family choose Skinner?
Skinner remains true to its original goals in 21st century fashion. Skinner prepares all students to be high school, college, and career ready. A proud, diverse community of learners, Skinner staff and students are engaged in a single-minded pursuit of high academic achievement through superior math and literacy instruction and enrichment courses, activities, and community-building through its unique Learning Families.

We think the children and parents at Skinner can tell you best why Skinner was their choice for middle school:

  • “My children can stay with neighborhood friends, meet new friends and be a part of their community.”
  • “The ‘feel’ of the school is welcoming and supportive.”
  • “It is a safe learning environment that actively encourages children from different backgrounds to collaborate.”
  • “It is a middle school focused on academics and many artful opportunities.”
  • “Teachers and parents collaborate to make sure my children are challenged academically.”
  • “The school is based on the needs of middle school children.”
  • An email from a 6th grade parent (March ’18): “This email is long overdue, but I wanted to express how fortunate we feel to have our son within your school. Even before he started his first class within Skinner your transition process into Skinner was reassuring that this would be a school that would focus on all aspects of our child whether it was educational, social and emotional, or the wide variety of activities and classes that were available to foster our child in countless ways. When (our son) started school each teacher went above and beyond to welcome him into their classrooms and the communication was extensive and clear. We could not be more impressed with the lessons that are being taught and the skills that are being developed as his teachers and coaches work tirelessly on his behalf. We can’t express how impressed we are!!This week exemplified the type of culture that is within your school with the gun violence walk-out activities that were planned on Wednesday. I know that there is a lot of pressure on schools to remain impartial to taking political stands around controversial activities, but I thank you so much for taking the courageous and important stance that you would support the students whether they wanted to walk-out or not. To know that the students could use their voice and they would be safe in doing so is one of the most important lessons that can be taught. I thank you for providing a police escort and allowing them to walk in a highly visible area in a safe manner for it was impressive. Your staff is simply amazing and we are so thankful for the great work that is being done on a daily basis. Keep the good and important work up!! With deep gratitude…”

Best ways to get information on Skinner:

What are Skinner’s school hours?
Skinner’s first bell rings at 7:25 am. This is when the doors open. The tardy bell rings at 7:35 am. Supervision begins on school grounds at 7:10 am. The final bell rings at 2:45 pm. After school tutoring and athletics begin at 3 pm and run until 5:30 pm depending on the activity.

What are the Skinner enrichment programs, activities, sports, or clubs?
Skinner students have 7 classes daily: 4 Core classes (Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies) and three electives or Core+ classes. Skinner offers over 20 different Core+ classes including Spanish, art, STEM, P.E., wood shop, band, orchestra, jazz band, choir, yearbook, leadership, newspaper, home ec, creative writing, drama and many more.

Skinner offers different clubs like LGBTQ Alliance, Latinx Student Alliance, Restorative Justice League, Book Club and others.

DPS Middle School Sports also take place after school. Students can participate in: soccer, volleyball, basketball, flag football, cross-country and more. Click here for more information on Scorpion Athletics.

College Preparation Opportunities:

  • Honors Language Arts, Mathematics and Science
  • 9th Grade Math for accelerated 8th graders
  • ACCESS Pre-Collegiate Program: Students visit local colleges throughout the year
  • Hope Scholarship Opportunities
  • Skinner Mathletics
  • Science Olympiad
  • Destination Imagination

How can I be assured that my child will be academically challenged at Skinner?
The transition from elementary to middle school is an important period to keep academic achievement and rigor a central focus. Skinner administration and staff are equipped to provide continuous academic improvement for a range of achievement levels.

Several efforts are made to determine the academic level of our incoming sixth graders including coordination with area feeder schools to understand content and curriculum, review of student academic records and assessment prior to the beginning of the school year. Our ability to meet the individual needs of students include:

  • Intervention and ELL resources
  • Top ranked special programs for students with disabilities
  • District curriculum honors courses
  • Learning families to provide social and academic support throughout the year

Does Skinner offer Honors courses?
Skinner offers Honors options in Math, Language Arts and Science. Honors options offer an environment designed to stimulate and challenge learners who have met the criteria for the honors program.

In Honors courses, students will:

  • Strive toward the exemplary standard of assessment rubrics
  • Publish and present their new understanding and insights through use of multimedia (iMovies, skits, podcasts, blogs, etc.) (Language Arts)
  • Read a variety of higher level texts for new perspectives and thematic connections (Language Arts and Social Studies)
  • Create examples of problems and participate in math competitions (Math)
  • Pursue self-expression within the context of the unit goals
  • Develop productive habits of mind: building stamina, striving for accuracy, thinking flexibly, generating questions that lead to deeper understanding, etc.
  • Self-assess and set ambitious goals for future learning

Candidates for the honors program demonstrate many of the following characteristics:

  • Is proficient/advanced in subject area
  • Takes initiative for his/her own learning
  • Has a lot of curiosity seeking the answer to “why?”
  • Has a large vocabulary
  • Works well in groups and communicates well
  • Strives towards excellence
  • Is self-motivated and has a strong work ethic
  • Is organized and able to self-assess progress and develop plans toward continual improvement

My child does not have HGT/GT designation, can they access Honors Classes?
Yes! All students have the opportunity to take honors options. Honors placement is made by subject, readiness, student interest, teacher recommendation, etc.

What programs do you have for children in HGT/GT programs at their elementary school?
Skinner has a GT teacher who works with both teach?ers and children on a weekly basis. Each child has an Advanced Learning Plan to challenge and monitor the needs and potential of GT students. Skinner selects from various DPS HGT/GT programs and is working with area GT teachers from feeder schools

Parents have highlighted Skinner’s culture of learning and nurturing as a valued school attribute that provides confidence and support for their children.

How does Skinner provide a safe and caring environment?

Skinner’s school culture nurtures students’ sense of belonging:

  • The Principal and staff greet every student by name daily upon entering the school
  • A culture of learning and across-the-board peer acceptance are the norm for our diverse student population
  • Every student meets daily with their “Learning Family” of no more than fifteen students in the same grade and is mentored by a staff member. The mentor monitors progress, helps develop supportive learning relationships and teaches organizational skills.
  • All students take anti-bullying (RESPECT) classes each year. The Five Bs govern everyday interactions: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Team-Oriented, Be Peaceful, and Be Positive.
  • Students are organized by grades in different wings and have different passing times
  • Restorative Approach Program to support students and families mediate concerns and build relationships.

Why does Skinner have a dress code?
The Skinner dress code is school logo shirts, plain black or white tops and either blue jeans, khaki, gray or black bottoms. This promotes safety, making it easy for school staff to see who belongs in the building and who does not. It also serves as a reminder that we are at school with a job to do and minimizes distractions with clothing. It is also a means to build Skinner pride.

What are the “5 Bs”?
All Skinner students and staff adhere to the 5 Bs as they are the foundation of a healthy school community. The 5 Bs represent our core values. All Skinner Scholars are expected to follow the 5 Bs to ensure our learning environment is a place where everyone feels safe, welcome, and happy. The 5 Bs also help us make choices that lead to personal and academic success. In order to reach our goals as a school and as individual scholars, we live and love the 5 Bs each and every day!

  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Positive
  • Be Peaceful
  • Be Team-Oriented