Adolescent Growth and Development

Course Number:  EDU 5515 C26
Instructor: Dr. Monica McEnerny
Location: Vermont Middle Grades Summer Institute at Castleton University
Dates and Times: June 29 to December 30, See course schedule below for more detailed information.
Credits: 3 graduate credits

Note: This course is part of the Middle Grades Institute that will be held at Castleton University June 25-29, 2018. Please register first for the Middle Grades Institute using the "Register Online" link below. If you wish to take the course for Castleton credit, please notify MGI who will then give you the link to Castleton's online registration form. Thank you.

Course Description

This course is aligned with the Middle Grades Institute that will be held at Castleton University June 25-29, 2018. 
The middle school concept is based on the developmental traits of young adolescents. Participants will explore the social, emotional, physical, moral, and intellectual traits of the 10-15-year-old and understand school structures and teaching strategies that support such needs.

Course Objectives/Goals

The course is based on the following Vermont Middle Grades Endorsement Competencies: 1.1, 1.2, and 5.1. When participants have successfully completed this strand, they will have demonstrated mastery of the following standards, which are based on the above Vermont Middle Grades Endorsement Competencies: 


Growth and Development

Create learning opportunities that demonstrate an understanding of the cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and moral characteristics of young adolescents. 


Cultural Diversity 

Employ middle grades practices that are culturally responsive to young adolescents’ individual identities.



Advocate for developmentally responsive schooling practices and policies for every student.

Course Expectations

Performance Tasks and Evaluation:


Consistent with the middle-level philosophy, participants are actively engaged in the learning process. Therefore, participants are expected to be willing to participate in discussions and exercises during class and to be 100% present. The middle school model is based on the premise that educators are most effective in working with young adolescents when collaborating with other professionals. For this reason, participants in this course will be encouraged to work together during class and in the creation of some learning products. Since much of the success in this kind, of course, depends on the learner to learner interaction, your presence and participation at all meetings during the institute is essential.

Professional Learning Plan/Portfolio. At the start of MGI, participants will create a working portfolio of their goals for learning during MGI. In the portfolio participants will:

  • Set learning goals for MGI and select all MGI course objectives that align with the selected endorsement strand
  • Design an action plan to address those goals and standards by consulting with MGI facilitators and accessing MGI resources
  • Post and reflect on evidence of learning those goals during MGI
  • Share the portfolio with the strand facilitators for evaluation and feedback

The final draft of the Portfolio is due July 15th to a designated facilitator on your team.

Action Research Project:

As part of the work in this course, participants are expected to propose and implement an action research project during the fall semester and present their findings at the Vermont Middle Grades Conference in January 2019. At the institute, participants work on developing a proposal for their project that they will implement during the fall semester. The proposal will apply the learning objectives of this course. The project may include but not limited to: an integrated unit that is taught in the fall semester, an investigation of student learning over time, or an analysis of assessment data collected over time.
Whatever the project topic, it must demonstrate the application of middle-level principles in promoting student achievement and apply to the principles learned in the course. In consultation with the institute instructors, participants will develop this proposal before the end of the institute and refine it before they implement it during the fall semester.

Expectations for Action Research Project:

As part of the MGI experience and in line with project-based learning, the MGI facilitators will assess each participant’s action research proposal. Here is the module for developing an Action Research Project and below are the significant dates and expectations for the project. The action research (AR) project can be completed by a team, group or individual.

Important Dates

Date Task

June 29, AR Proposal Table Talk. As individuals or teams, share progress to date on an AR proposal. The AR project is the mechanism to evaluate the work developed during the Institute. The proposal should include the Abstract, Introduction and Rationale, and Implementation Plan.

July 1-July 15, AR Proposal Facilitation. Participants may submit drafts to their strand facilitators for comment prior to the July 15 deadline. Please email the strand facilitators if you would like feedback.

July 15, AR Proposal DUE. Participants complete the AR proposal, including the Abstract, Introduction and Rationale, and Implementation Plan. 

July 14-August 5, AR Proposal Evaluation. Facilitators evaluate the AR proposal.

August 5 Grades are submitted to CU, SMC, UVM or JSC.

Fall Semester AR Project Implementation. Participants collaboratively implement AR projects, collect and analyze data, and prepare presentations to share findings at the annual winter Vermont Middle Grades Conference. Facilitators monitor AR project implementation. Participants collaboratively support each other in peer groups and may request support from MGI staff via email. 

December 1, Conference Registration. Participants complete a presentation title (15 words or less) and an abstract (50 words or less) for Vermont Middle Grades Conference.

January 2019, MGC Conference. Participants present AR projects at the Vermont Middle Grades Conference.

For additional course information

Dr. Monica McEnerny
(802) 468-1358

For additional registration information

James Nagle
(802) 654-2636

Register online now!