Exceptional Middle-Grades ‘Schools To Watch’ Announced in Fifteen States

One hundred and sixteen (116) exemplary middle-grades schools in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia have been named “Schools to Watch” as part of a recognition and improvement program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Each school was selected by state leaders for its academic excellence, its responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and its commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels.

  • Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friendRepost This
"We are pleased that our Schools to Watch program has shown that middle schools can meet high academic expectations while preserving a commitment to healthy development and equity for all students," said Dr. Deborah Kasak, Forum executive director.

Champaign-Urbana, IL (PRWEB) May 29, 2014

One hundred and sixteen (116) exemplary middle-grades schools in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia have been named “Schools to Watch” as part of a recognition and improvement program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Having established partnerships with education leaders in these states, the Forum today announced the names of schools in each state that meet its strict criteria. [list of schools below]

Each school was selected by state leaders for its academic excellence, its responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and its commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels. In addition, each school has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.

Linda Hopping, Chair of the National Forum’s Schools to Watch Oversight Committee stated, “These schools demonstrate that high-performing middle grades schools have a clear focus on academic growth and achievement. They also recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensuring that each and every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education. We are proud to have these schools serve as models from which others can learn.”

Selection is based on a written application that required schools to show how they met criteria developed by the Forum. Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by state teams who observed classrooms, interviewed administrators, teachers, students, and parents, and looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work. Schools are recognized for a three-year period; and at the end of three years, schools must repeat the process in order to be re-designated. Seventy-seven (77) schools of the 116 recognized have maintained or increased their levels of excellence and are being re-designated. The schools vary in size from several hundred to several thousand students and represent urban, suburban, and rural communities.

"We are pleased that our Schools to Watch program has shown that schools can meet high academic expectations while preserving a commitment to healthy development and equity for all students," said Dr. Deborah Kasak, Forum executive director. "These Schools to Watch are indeed special; they make education so exciting that students and teachers don't want to miss a day. These schools have proven that it is possible to overcome barriers to achieving excellence, and any middle-grades school in any state can truly learn from their examples," Kasak said.

Launched in 1999, Schools to Watch began as a national program to identify middle-grades schools across the country that were meeting or exceeding 37 criteria developed by the Forum. The Forum web site (http://www.middlegradesforum.org) features detailed information about the selection criteria. The STW process provided the framework for the successful Investing in Innovation (i3) Development grant received in October 2010 from the U. S. Department of Education. The National Forum’s “The Schools to Watch: School Transformation Network” concentrates on assisting 18 persistently low performing middle grades schools in CA, IL and NC. In 2013, the Forum further extended its STW framework when it was awarded a second i3 Development Grant: Middle-Grades Leadership Development. This grant will work with 12 schools in MI and KY.

In 2002, the Forum began working with states to replicate the Schools to Watch program as a way to introduce the Forum's criteria for high-performance and identify middle grades schools that meet or exceed that criteria. Different education organizations have taken the lead in each state, but all have received training and support from the Forum to implement their Schools to Watch programs. The lead state organizations are the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Education, the California League of Middle Schools, the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education, the Georgia Middle School Association, the Association of Illinois Middle-Level Schools, the Indiana Middle Level Education Association, the Kentucky Middle School Association, the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, the New Jersey Association for Middle Level Education, New Jersey Education Association, the New York State Middle School Association & New York State Department of Education, the North Carolina Middle School Association, the Ohio Department of Education, the Oregon Middle Level Association, the Pennsylvania Middle School Association, the South Carolina Middle School Association, the Texas Middle School Association, the Utah Middle Level Association and the Virginia Middle School Association. All together, nineteen states are currently involved in the program and the addition of these schools raises the total number of Schools to Watch to 367 nationwide.

The National Forum sponsors the Schools to Watch state program with the support of its members and the State Schools to Watch programs. Schools will convene at the Schools to Watch Conference in the Washington, DC area June 26- 28, 2014.

The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is an alliance of 40 educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations dedicated to improving education in the middle grades.

National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform
New & Re-Designated “Schools to Watch”

ARKANSAS
STATE DIRECTORS: Mona Briggs (501) 658-1811 monabriggs(at)yahoo(dot)com
Charles Green (501) 351-6638 cgreen1776(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

Redesignation II
Cabot Middle School North, Cabot
Helen Tyson Middle School, Springdale

CALIFORNIA
STATE DIRECTOR: Irvin Howard (951) 318-7515 stwcal(at)gmail(dot)com
Carole Carlson (408) 867-6623 ccarlson(at)leagueofschools(dot)org

New
Alondra Middle School, Paramount
Carmenita Middle School, Cerritos
Colton Middle School, Colton
Heber Elementary, Heber
LaCanada High School 7/8, LaCanada Flintridge
Landmark Middle School, Moreno Valley
Leona Jackson Middle School, Paramount
Pinkerton Middle School, Elk Grove
Serrano Middle School, Montclair
Tetzlaff Accelerated Learning Academy, Cerritos
Turlock Junior High School, Turlock

Redesignation I
Calavera Hills Middle School, Calsbad
Carnegie Middle School, Sacramento
La Paz Middle School, Mission Viejo
Vista Verde Middle School, Moreno Valley
Washington Academic, Sanger

Redesignation II
Alta Sierra Intermediate, Clovis
Kastner Intermediate, Clovis

Redesignation III
Alvarado Intermediate, Rowland Heights
Bernice Ayer Middle School, San Clemente
Kennedy Middle School, El Centro
Millikan Middle School, Sherman Oaks
Rancho Milpitas Middle School, Milpitas

COLORADO
STATE DIRECTOR: Diane Lauer (970) 222-6422 dianelauer(at)mac(dot)com

New
Lesher Middle School, Fort Collins

Redesignation I
Jenkins Middle School, Colorado Springs
Powell Middle School, Littleton

Redesignation II
Russell Middle School, Colorado Springs

GEORGIA
STATE DIRECTOR: Linda Hopping (404) 317-3679 lighthouselh(at)yahoo(dot)com

Redesignation I
East Jackson Middle School, Commerce
Waycross Middle School, Waycross

Redesignation III
Chapel Hill Middle School, Chapel Hill
Upson-Lee Middle School, Thomaston

ILLINOIS
STATE DIRECTORS: John Viano (630) 437-0943 jviano13(at)gmail(dot)com
Gary Weilbacher gaweilb(at)ilstu(dot)edu

New
Clifford Crone Middle School, Naperville
Kaneland Harter Middle School, Sugar Grove
Nathan Davis School, Chicago

Redesignation II
Gordon Gregory Middle School, Naperville
Indian Creek Middle School, Waterman

INDIANA
STATE DIRECTOR: Shirley Wright (317) 894-2937 imlea(at)iasp(dot)org

New
Shelbyville Middle School, Shelbyville

Redesignation I
Eastwood Middle School, Indianapolis
Triton Central Middle School, Fairland
Tri-West Middle School, Lizton
Westlane Middle School, Indianapolis

KENTUCKY
STATE DIRECTORS: Karen Hamilton (850) 248-1629 karen.hamilton(at)eku(dot)edu
Fran Salyers (859) 608-2368 fran.salyers(at)eku(dot)edu

Redesignation I
Mt. Washington Middle School, Mt. Washington

Redesignation II
Benton Middle School, Benton

Re-Designation III
Olmstead School, Olmstead

MICHIGAN
STATE DIRECTOR: Nic Cooper nic.cooper(at)baker(dot)edu
Sherry Lambertson (989) 529-4397 sherrylambertson(at)gmail(dot)com

New
Cheboygan Middle School, Cheboygan
Whitehall Middle School, Whitehall

Redesignation I
Oakview Middle School, Lake Orion

NEW JERSEY
STATE DIRECTOR: Gail Hillard-Nelson (908) 737-3866 gnelson(at)kean(dot)edu
Frank Corrado (973) 477-6070 fac1913(at)aol(dot)com

New
Carl H. Kumpf Middle School, Clark
Leonia Middle School, Leonia

Redesignation I
Belhaven Middle School, Linwood
Black River Middle School, Chester

Redesignation II
Mountain View Middle School, Mendham Borough

NEW YORK
STATE DIRECTORS: David Payton (518) 356-3299 davidpayton412(at)gmail(dot)com
Marybeth Casey (518) 474-0059 mcasey2(at)mail(dot)nysed(dot)gov

Redesignation I
Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School, Port Washington
Garden City Middle School, Garden City

Redesignation II
Pioneer Middle School, Yorkshire

NORTH CAROLINA
STATE DIRECTOR: Cathy Tomon (252) 247-3135 cathy.tomon(at)carteretk12(dot)org

New
C.W. Stanford Middle School, Hillsborough
Mount Airy Middle School, Mount Airy
Redesignation I
McGee's Crossroads, Benson
Piedmont Middle School, Charlotte

Redesignation II
Kernodle Middle School, Greensboro
Rogers-Herr Middle School, Durham
West Pine Middle School, West End

Redesignation III
Carmel Middle School, Charlotte
Easy Yancey Middle School, Burnsville
Jay M. Robinson Middle School, Charlotte

OHIO
STATE DIRECTOR: Dan Stacy (614)644-6325 dan.stacy(at)ode(dot)state(dot)oh(dot)us

Redesignation II
Teays Valley West Middle School, Commercial Point
Wadsworth Central Intermediate, Wadsworth

Redesignation III
Beachwood Middle School, Beachwood
St. HenryMiddle School, St. Henry
Van Wert Middle School, Van Wert

PENNSYLVANIA
STATE DIRECTORS: Bruce Vosburgh (610) 945-4434 bvosbur(at)comcast(dot)net

New
ET Richardson Middle School, Springfield
Kane Area Middle School, Kane
Northley Middle School, Aston
Schuylkill Valley Middle School, Leesport

Redesignation I
Canonsburg Middle School, Canonsburg
Seneca Valley Middle School, Harmony

Redesignation II
Boyce Middle School, Upper St. Clair
Fort Couch Middle School, Upper St. Clair

SOUTH CAROLINIA
STATE DIRECTORS: Linda Allen (843) 839-5025 scmsa(at)sccoast(dot)net
Tina Jamison twhite199(at)earthlink(dot)net

New
Campobello Gramling School, Campobello

Redesignation I
Castle Heights Middle School, Rock Hill
T.E. Mabry Middle School, Inman

Redesignation II
Blythewood Middle School, Blythewood
Palmetto Middle School, Williamston

TEXAS
STATE DIRECTORS: Cecil Floyd (512) 517-0517 tmsa(at)austin(dot)rr(dot)com
Melissa Seward tmsa2(at)austin(dot)rr(dot)com

New
Bailey Middle School, Spring
Beckendorff Junior High, Katy
Beverly Hills Intermediate School, Pasadena
Bowman Middle School, Plano
Gorzycki Middle School, Austin
Hudson Bend Middle School, Lake Travis
Murphy Middle School, Plano
Simon Middle School, Hays

Redesignation I
Alexander Middle School, Pearland ISD
Armando Chapa Middle School, Hays CISD
Barbara Bush Middle School, North East
Cal & Walt Wester Middle School, Frisco
Chisholm Trail Middle School, North West
Eastwood Middle School, Ysleta
George Dawson Middle School, Southlake Carroll
KIPP Aspire Academy Middle School, San Antonio
Lone Oak Middle School, Lone Oak
Omar Bradley Middle School, North East
Pershing Middle School, Houston

UTAH
STATE DIRECTORS: Lori Gardner (801) 803-3659 loribatesgardner(at)gmail(dot)com    
Cathy Jenson (801) 538-7793 cathy.jensen(at)schools(dot)utah(dot)gov    

Redesignation I
Kearns Junior High School, Kearns

Redesignation II
Tonaquint Intermediate School, St. George

VIRGINIA
STATE DIRECTOR: Sandy Dutemple (703) 795-0775 MsDu(at)mac(dot)com
Sally MacLean (703) 866-0537 STW.Director1(at)gmail(dot)com

New
Harmony Middle School, Loudoun County
Lake Ridge Middle School, Prince William County
Northside Middle School, Roanoke County
Wallace Middle School, Washington County

Redesignation I
Bull Run Middle School, Prince William County
Gainesville Middle School, Prince William County
Pennington Traditional School, Prince William County
Stone Hill Middle School, Loudoun County
Stonewall Middle School, Prince William County

Redesignation II
Blue Ridge Middle School, Loudoun County


Contact