Broughal (Brock-al) Community Middle School is located in the heart of the South Side of Bethlehem, PA, about an hour’s drive southwest of New York City, and fifty miles north of Philadelphia. As a Title I Schoolwide program, Broughal receives federal resources to help all students receive a quality education and meet academic standards. It is located on the same side of Bethlehem as the Bethlehem Steel plant, which has closed, but remains a major part of the South Side’s history. The opening of the steel plant caused many people to immigrate to the Lehigh Valley, looking for work. Though the South Side was once a declining neighborhood, it is now beginning to flourish due in part to the strong involvement of the many small businesses and community residents who have made their homes on the South Side.
Broughal Middle School has three grades, sixth, seventh, and eighth. An ethnically diverse population of approximately 600 students attends Broughal, which makes it the smallest middle school in Bethlehem Area School District. The new Broughal Middle School, which opened in the fall of 2009, was designed as a science, math, and technology signature school. As a LEED certified structure, the school features architectural enhancements which have been designed and built to improve energy savings, water efficiency, emissions and indoor environmental quality. These state-of-the-art architectural features that were designed to make the building environmentally friendly also lend themselves to student data collection and analysis.
The gymnasium is at one end of the school and the auditorium at the other end, allowing convenient access to sports and cultural events. A Family Center has medical facilities and rooms to support Southside families. The main administrative offices are located near the entrance on Morton Street and academic classrooms are arranged so that each grade is grouped together on a floor. Music facilities adjoin the auditorium and related arts classrooms fill the first floor and the side of the building near the auditorium.
The schedule at Broughal revolves around a six day cycle. This can be complicated at times, but allows for consistency in the schedule regardless of any missed school days during a week. For instance, if the schedule starts on a Monday with day 1, then the following Monday would be a day 6. After morning announcements, we begin the day’s lesson. Then we have eight fifty-minute classes per day. Periodically, we have “activity days.” On these days we attend eight forty-five minute classes and end the day with either circles and discussions or team activities.
There are currently four academic classes incorporated into the schedule at Broughal: reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies. Our first class of the day, Discovery Period, gives students time to work on math and reading skills that need bolstering. All students receive instruction in health. Foreign languages are also offered. In sixth grade students have an opportunity to experience two foreign languages: Spanish, and French, as well as technology. At the conclusion of sixth grade, students may select which foreign language they want to study in seventh and eighth grades. Students also take classes in related arts. These are music, music composition, art, astronomy, digital imaging, and television production.
Seminar, a class for academically talented students, is part of the Special Education Program. There is a major unit of study each year in the seminar curriculum. In sixth grade seminar students participate in an archaeological dig. Seventh graders, in conjunction with a local community college, produce an evening magazine type video. Eighth grade seminar students prepare for “Junior Craftsman Along the Monocacy,” a peer teaching experience in which eighth grade students teach eighteenth century industries to twelve hundred fourth grade students who visit the historic outdoor stations.
Sports are an important part of life at Broughal. We offer cross country, track, girls’ and boys’ volleyball, wrestling, girls’ and boys’ basketball, soccer, football, softball, and field hockey.
Broughal has an excellent music department which includes a chorus, several bands and an orchestra. Each of these groups performs twice a year. The chorus is directed by vocal music teacher, Miss Putlock. The band is under the leadership of Mr. Stoltz. The band is split up into four smaller groups, concert, jazz, marching band, and orchestra.
The Lehigh University campus is located across the street from Broughal. Many Lehigh students come to Broughal to assist the students in their learning experience. The university includes Broughal in many of its community outreach programs, for example, Broughal students benefit from Lehigh tutors in many classrooms and during after school Homework Club. They also work with mechanical engineering students to design, build, and test prototypical race cars. St. Luke’s Hospital, Just Born, Inc., and the United Way are also valuable partners in these endeavors.