In life, we experience change. Lots of it. In the world of public education, change is the name of the game. In Colorado, we have new academic standards, new assessments, new evaluation systems, but in our state there is a school where high achievement and student success remains a validated constant. That school is Russell Middle School located in Colorado Springs, District 11.
Russell is Designated a Third Time as Colorado School to Watch
Russell Middle School is one of only two schools in the state of Colorado to have been named a Colorado Trailblazer School to Watch for three consecutive three-year cycles. This translates into 9 evidence-based years of a sustained trajectory of success, where students are challenged to learn at high levels and do so, where staff work collaboratively to provide a rich, engaging program of learning for all students, and administrators manage the ever-present changes served up to them by changing state initiatives, district goals, and the unique challenges brought by the students they serve so well. With this three-peat, Russell has joined the select group of about 50 schools that have been designated three times as a National School to Watch. Now that is impressive!
What it Takes to Maintain Excellence in Education
Russell’s Principal Julie Williams credits the tenacity of her staff and community that work together to ensure that everyone is continuously improving and looking for ways to do things better. ” At Russell, excellence is embedded in our value system. We get energized when we engage in conversations about how we can be better and how we can elevate learning for our students.”
Russell has created a dynamic learning environment that blends high expectations and strong systemic systems to maximize learning and growth for all students. The staff and students at Russell focus on character and service. Russell reaches out to their local military families and veterans to bring their message of honor, dedication, and pursuit of excellence to the students. Likewise, Russell students engage in a variety of service learning projects that provide them with the opportunity to give of themselves. This enriched learning experiences helps to make Russell worthy of being “watched” by other schools in the state.
In 2008, Russell was recognized as a School to Watch, but also by the state of Colorado for it’s exemplary implementation of Response to Intervention practices. Russell was recognized by the International Center for Leadership in Education as a Model School for its record of maximizing learning for at-risk learners. In 2012 Russell was recognized as both a Colorado and National School of Character.
Russell Middle School will receive their award of distinction on June 26, 2014 in Washington, DC at the National Schools to Watch Conference. They will share their best practices at the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education Conference in the fall on Saturday, November 8, 2014.