CAMLE 2019 Pre-Conference

Rocky Top Middle School Site Visit

Friday, November 1, 2019

Rocky Top Middle School
114150 York Street Thornton, CO

Single Admission – $50.00
Groups or 5+ – $40.00

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Rocky Top Middle School, part of the Adams 12 Five Star School District is a dynamic school that educates 1150+ students in grades 6-8. Rocky Top has been recognized as a Colorado School to Watch in 2019 and is distinguished for creating a safe, inclusive community that inspires students to achieve their potential through cutting-edge instruction and a focus on the whole child — physical, mental and social well being.

Rocky Top’s teachers collaborate and work to meet individual student needs. In the classroom, students focus on digital citizenship and use technology to enhance their learning and understanding. Rocky Top is the only student-provided 1:1 computing middle school in the state.

Rocky Top is also defined by their dedication to community service and shaping students into productive citizens through programs like Grizzlies Give Back and Random Acts of Kindness. When students graduate from Rocky Top, they know themselves as learners and are equipped to make a difference in the world!

Spend a day at Rocky Top and learn more about the Colorado Schools to Watch criteria and the replicable practices that make Rocky Top – tops!

  • Become familiar with the National Forum’s “School to Watch” Criteria of Success
  • Identify the key attributes and cultural shifts that transformed Rocky Top Middle School
  • Participate in a school site tour, visit with students, teachers and staff
  • Lunch provided

Single Admission – $50.00
Groups or 5+ – $40.00

Brentwood Middle School – 2019 Colorado School to Watch!

“America’s future walks through the doors of Brentwood Middle School each day!” Located in Greeley, this IB World School has been designated as a 2019 Colorado School to Watch. Brentwood is a thriving learning community where staff and students and families work together to provide a rich and robust learning experience for each and every child.

The faculty at Brentwood Middle School engage in deep professional learning, utilizing their collaboration time to design personalized and challenging inquiry-based units of study attuned to the needs of their students. Faculty often visit each other’s classes and observe each other teach.

The professional culture at Brentwood mirrors the student culture based on inquiry and continuous growth. Students regularly engage in reflective practice analyzing their growth as they strive to meet the goals they set for themselves. Students participate in student-led conferences on a regular basis and develop the habit for articulating their personal successes and opportunities for growth.

In addition to strong academics, students have access to a wide range of enrichment opportunities. Over 90% of Brentwood students choose to be involved in their award-winning band and music programs. Each student is expected to participate in at least one extra-curriculum activity which strengthens student-school activity and creates opportunities for passion-based learning that can transcend into high school.

The staff is led by Principal Nicole Petersen, Assistant Principal Heather Severt, and Assistant Principal William Fearn.


West Middle School – 2019 Colorado School to Watch!

West Middle School is a thriving community that supports learning for middle grades students at the West Campus in Colorado Springs School District 11. The West Campus is a building with a long and storied history, dating back to 1924, and has been an integral part of the Westside Community and Old Colorado City for over 90 years. It is fitting that this incredible school has been awarded the distinction of being a 2019 Colorado School to Watch!

The West school community is relentless in ensuring that all children have access to effective instructional strategies and challenging academic content. The staff continually strives to prepare children for the challenges of tomorrow. They believe that lifelong learners require a dynamic learning environment to thrive! To ensure this happens West faculty work collaboratively to provide plentiful problem-solving opportunities which are systematically infused across the content, giving students embedded opportunities to critically think and search for creative solutions. Teachers at West meet regularly to collaborate and determine next best learning opportunities for students whether it be additional support or advanced challenge.

West offer programs to meet the needs of diverse learners, these include robust supports and programming for gifted learners and those for whom English is a second language. All students have access to a broad range of activities including art, music (choir, band, and orchestra), physical education for all students and applied engineering & technology, through the Gateway to Technology program as well as the college-prep AVID program to ensure that all students meet their greatest potential.

Before and after school clubs and activities abound at West Middle School. These provide opportunities for students to participate academically, athletically, and socially.  Students can participate in Lego League Robotics, Boat Regatta, Science Olympiad, Cave of the Wind’s Future Problem Solvers, and Girl’s Law Day just to share a few.

West’s “small school atmosphere” is said to be “the best kept secret on the Westside”. West Middle School is a model learning environment for any child in the middle grades.

Flagstaff Academy is recognized as a 2019 Colorado School to Watch

Flagstaff Academy

Flagstaff Academy has been recognized as a 2019 Colorado School to Watch by the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education. The moment you walk in the door at Flagstaff Academy, you start to feel the energy and exuberance for learning that permeates this K-8 school. With 300 of the 900 students enrolled in grades 6-8, Flagstaff truly is a small community that showcases big opportunities for students.

A clear and compelling vision based on three pillars of success provides a strong foundation for learning and growth at Flagstaff. Those three pillars are: Student Success, Professional Environment and Culture, and Financial Stability.

Students are actively engaged in a rich, dynamic learning environment that synthesizes interdisciplinary learning matter into the heart, which for them is a STEM focus. Flagstaff students are curious and caring. They demonstrate inquisitiveness and integrity. They access rigorous core academics and and access a long list of essentials like Beginning Band, Intermediate Band, Advanced Band, Jazz Band, Choir, Drama, Physical Education, Art, Spanish, French, Photography, Animation, Forensic Science, Mythbusters, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Networks & Operating, Yearbook, Journalism, Robotics, Pre Engineering, Speech & Debate, Personal Finance, and Battle of the Books.

Flagstaff has developed a culture that is supportive, celebratory, accountable, and welcoming to students, staff, and faculty from all walks of life. Flagstaff Academy utilizes a multi-tiered Restorative Practices approach within the school’s culture and  the result of this approach is a community that is committed to self-responsibility, self-discipline, and self-awareness of how words and actions impact one another. Staff and students embrace the philosophy embedded in 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens.

Connections are an important part of our the student educational journey at Flagstaff, from the connections they feel with their teachers, their peers, and the very school itself.  Research has shown that this increased sense of connection results in better school performance. Our philosophy is to intentionally build relationships with our students and facilitate them between students every single day through Restorative Practices and a Positive Behavior Support System.

Flagstaff believes in emphasizing the positive and regularly recognizes their students , reinforcing everyday behaviors that exemplify our Dragon Core Virtues. At the same time, Flagstaff Academy is a high achieving school, one that has been awarded the John Irwin School of Excellence three times. Their students are actively involved in a wide variety of academic competitions ranging from VEX Robotics, Science Fairs, Destination Imagination and Future Problem Solvers.

Flagstaff Academy is led by Executive Director, Wayne Granger and Principal Katie Gustafson.

Congratulations to our 2019 Colorado Trailblazer Schools to Watch!

The Colorado Association of Middle Level Education (CAMLE) is proud to honor five schools with distinguished designation of Colorado Trailblazer School to Watch. These schools include Brentwood Middle School in Greeley, Flagstaff Academy in Longmont, Preston Middle School in Fort Collins, Rocky Top Middle School in Thornton, and West Middle School in Colorado Springs.

These five schools will be part of the 100+ schools recognized at the National Schools to Watch Conference on June 28, 2019 in Washington, DC.

“These exceptional schools demonstrate that high-performance is the result of intentional focus on the whole child. Each has created a collaborative learning community where students thrive!” explained Diane Lauer, State Director of the Colorado Schools to Watch program. “These schools excel in providing active, engaging, and rigorous student learning for every student. They have built a powerful, high quality middle school program that are models for our state.”

Selection is based on a written application that requires schools to show how they met criteria developed by the Forum. State teams organized by the Colorado Schools to Watch ( program conduct site visits in order to affirm that they have indeed met the rigorous requirements of the award. These teams observe classrooms, interview administrators, teachers, and parents, review achievement data, suspension rates, instructional quality, and student work. Schools are recognized for a three-year period, and at the end of three years must repeat the process in order to be re-designated.

“These Schools to Watch are indeed special; they make education so exciting that students and teachers don’t want to miss a day. They have proven that it is possible to achieve a high degree of educational excellence, and any middle-level school can truly learn from their example,” said Ericka Uskali, Forum executive director. “We are pleased that our Schools to Watch program have shown that schools can meet high academic expectations while preserving a commitment to healthy development and equity for all students,” Uskali 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 developed a web site ( that features online tours of schools, as well as detailed information about the selection criteria used in the recognition program. Nineteen states are currently involved in the program and the addition of these schools raises the total number of Schools to Watch to over 400 nationwide.

The National Forum sponsors the Schools to Watch state program with the support of members, the National Association for Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Association of Middle Level Education, Learning Forward, and the State Schools to Watch programs.

The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is an alliance of 65 educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations dedicated to improving education in the middle grades. (

CAMLE 2018 – Owning It! Empowering Students and Teachers in the Middle Grades

Join middle level educators from across the state at the 2018 CAMLE Annual Conference, Owning It: Empowering Students & Teachers in the Middle Grades on Saturday, November 3 at Casey Middle School in Boulder, CO. Select from 32+ sessions presented by school practitioners, regional experts and national organizations.

Register Today!

Register Today!