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Ten Good Reasons to Participate in the Schools to Watch Program

Schools to Watch (STW) is a program of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform and Pennsylvania is one of 17 states that has an active STW program.  PA began their STW program in 2006 and recognized their first schools in 2007.  We became involved in the STW process in 2006 for two reasons, (1) STW is for any school that has shown 3 years of growth and (2) once a school is recognized, they need to reapply to be recognized as a STW school every 3 years.  Thus showing they are continuing on a trajectory of continuous improvement. The goals of the STW program include, (1) to promote continuous school improvement and (2) to identify and recognize middle-level schools and programs that are academically excellent, developmentally responsive, socially equitable and organized to ensure continuous improvement.  STW schools serve as exemplars for the successful implementation of best middle-level practices.

Check out these 10 reasons why you should check out the STW program

  1. Schools involved in the PA STW program are recognized at the Local, State and National level for their success and growth.

  2. The PA STW program is grounded in the most recent research and best practices.  It is part of a national initiative led by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform to strengthen middle-level education.

  3. Baseline data collection and reporting and the application process are done on-line.

  4. The 37 researched-based criteria on the PA STW program are fully aligned with middle level publications: This We Believe, Turning Points 2000, Breaking Ranks in the Middle.

  5. Over 650 schools in 17 states across the country are currently recognized as STW schools.  PA currently has 42 active STW schools willing and eager to assist other middle-level schools interested in becoming a PA Don Eichhorn Schools: Schools to Watch school.  In addition, PAMLE offers an additional layer of professional and personal support.

  6. PAMLE is a strong supporter of the PA STW program.  That being said, the PA STW program in not PDE mandated or directed.  Local schools make all the key decisions including when to begin the process, how fast to proceed, whom to involve, when to request an external review/or constructive feedback, and when, if ever, to submit an application for official recognition.

  7. Broad-based involvement helps to ensure the school’s improvement plan “lives on” over time.  Thus the PA STW program encourages and supports the involvement of key stakeholders including administration, staff, parents, students and community members.  Each has an important role not only in developing a school improvement plan, but also in its implementation.

  8. The PA STW program is a school improvement program.  It is intended to help middle-level schools successfully implement those programs and supports that ensure that each and every student develops not only academically, but also personally.

  9. The only cost associated with the PA STW program is that all schools must be Institutional Members of PAMLE or Dual Institutional Members of AMLE/PAMLE.  Additional costs would include providing meals for the visitation team and attendance at the PAMLE State Conference and National STW Conference if recognized.  All other program expenses are controlled by the local school or district (e.g., consultants, staff development, etc.).

  10. Given the rate and magnitude of change occurring now in education, middle-level schools have no choice but to engage in serious, long-term, researched-based, school improvement planning.

So why wait?  Why not consider the PA Don Eichhorn Schools:  Schools to Watch program as your school improvement process.

For more information about the PA STW process, check out the information on the PAMLE website, https://pamle.org/Schools-to-Watch

Bruce Vosburgh – Director of PA STW

Pennsylvania Association
for Middle Level

P.O. Box 312
State College, PA 16801

Email: support@pamle.org

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PAMLE is a proud affiliate of the Association for Middle Level Education

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