Wellington Middle School has been recognized as a 2015 Colorado Trailblazer Schools to Watch for the second time. The Colorado Association of Middle Level Education recognizes Wellington for challenging students to use their minds well, being sensitive to the unique developmental needs of early adolescence and providing every student with a high-quality learning experience. Wellington is one of 100 schools that will be recognized nationwide at the National Schools to Watch Conference on June 27, 2015 in Washington, DC.
“Wellington demonstrates that high-performance is the result of intentional focus on the whole child. A learning community that cultivates persistence, self-inquiry, goal setting within a healthy and intellectually stimulating environment results in a dynamic setting where students thrive!” explained Diane Lauer, State Coordinator of the Colorado Schools to Watch program. “Wellington recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensuring that every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education and the support to excel.”
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 (www.coloradoschoolstowatch.com) 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. Two additional Colorado schools will be redesignated this year as Colorado Trailblazer Schools to Watch: Fort Morgan Middle School (Fort Morgan School District) and Basalt Middle (Roaring Forks School District). One school, Westview Middle (St. Vrain Valley School District) has been designated for the first time.
“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 Dr. Deborah Kasak, 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,” 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 developed a web site (www.middlegradesforum.org) 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 4 schools raises the total number of Schools to Watch to 400 nationwide.