By Julie Washburn Souza
Howard Middle School was opened in August of 2004 as a public middle school in the Bibb County School system. It is nestled in the northwest corner of Bibb County, and is named for the Howard area community in which the school is located.
School principal Matt Adams says the school was one that had been greatly anticipated by the city for many years. “Families are naturally drawn to the quiet, serene environment that is found in this part of Bibb County,” Adams explains. “The citizens of this area wanted a school that encompassed a community feel, resembling the characteristics of this area of Macon.”
Home to the “Huskies,” Howard serves approximately 920 students in sixth through eighth grades. Most of the students who enter the school as sixth graders have had previous educational experiences at Sonny Carter, Springdale, McKibben Lane, Rosa Taylor, and Brookdale Elementary Schools.
Principal Adams places a strong emphasis on making sure students receive a high level of instruction in the core academic areas of English/language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. For electives, students have the opportunity to select from art, strings, band, chorus, show choir, computer technology, computer applications, family and computer science, math connections, robotics, and physical education.
The mission at Howard Middle is to start early preparing graduates for careers after high school or college. Adams believes his and his staff’s heavy emphasis on academics has helped the school achieve AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) for the past two years.
“We believe that students at Howard Middle School will achieve academic excellence and good citizenship through rewarding and exceptional educational experiences,” Adams says. “Our mission is to provide a high quality education in a safe and comfortable environment, and to make use of all human and technological resources in preparing graduates for post-high school objectives.”
Howard Middle is very diverse racially, economically, and academically. Classes are available for pupils identified as those with special needs and gifted, and there is also a program for those with exceptional needs.
Last school year, Howard Middle School became a targeted assisted (TA) school. With this special designation by the state, the school is able to receive extra funding and job positions to better help students who are having difficulties in mathematics. With TA assistance, Howard Middle now has two additional math connection classes, a math coach, and a performance learning coach. The teachers and support personnel are carefully monitoring individual student progress under the new programs to ensure that expectations are met and/or exceeded. While the students attend connection classes, the teachers collaboratively plan for instruction that will optimize student achievement.
In an effort to improve student achievement across the board, Adams has also recently implemented a computer tutoring program designed to enhance student success in all academic areas.
Along with academic offerings, Howard Middle students are offered a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including but not limited to: football, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, cheerleading, track, chorus, band, strings, academic teams, chess club, drama club, 4-H, Huskie Tracks Publishing, science club, student council, technology club, photography club, BETA, and FCA.
Many students at Howard Middle win awards for themselves and their school each year. Howard Middle School has been called the “Poster Child for Technology,” with approximately seventy-five pupils entering the Bibb County Technology Fair annually. Many of these students progress to the state level and earn first, second, or third places in the state of Georgia. Those students who are truly technology lovers, also enter projects in the International Student Media Festival (ISMF). Students from Howard have traveled to Dallas, TX, Orlando, FL, Anaheim, CA, and most recently, to Louisville, KY to accept international awards for technology projects. Last year, the school’s robotic team placed first in their region.
Howard Middle students also often enter the “Young GA Writers” contest each year. Students from Howard have earned first, second, and third places within the state. Writing skills are emphasized at Howard through the school’s annual publication of Howard Huskie Tracks Magazine which showcases student writing. Both the math and academic teams at Howard also consistently show well.
The Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl competitions keep students busily reading the twenty nominated titles for the Georgia Book Award. In addition, the People to People Ambassador Program has taken several Howard students to Washington, DC to learn more about government.
Athletics is another area in which Howard students excel. The Lady Huskie Softball Team is currently ranked number one in the county, and both the male and female soccer teams have been ranked number one in the county. One Howard student placed second nationally in the 100m dash in the middle grades age group.
Principal Adams is a 1992 graduate of Emmanuel College where he received a B.S. in religion. He received his middle grades certification through Mercer University and Columbus College in 1995. He later received his Master’s in Educational Leadership at Columbus State University in 1998 and obtained his Ed. S. degree in Educational Leadership from Columbus State University in 2003. He has been a teacher, coach, and administrator in various K through 12 schools over the past 17 years.
Adams is the husband of 17 years to Rachel Adams, who is a middle school math teacher in Pike County, and the father of three children: Ben, Lydia, and Hannah. In his spare time, he loves to spend time with his family, garden, coach his children’s athletic teams, play golf, follow college football (UGA especially), and serve his local church and community.
Howard Middle School
6600 Forsyth Road
Macon, GA 31210