Westview Middle honored as new 2015 Colorado School to Watch Designee

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Westview Middle School has been recognized as a new 2015 Colorado Trailblazer Schools to Watch. The Colorado Association of Middle Level Education recognizes Westview 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. Westview is one of 100 schools that will be recognized nationwide at the National Schools to Watch Conference on June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.

WMS“Westview demonstrates that high-performance is the result of intentional focus on the whole child. A personalized environment that cultivates student curiosity, creativity, healthy physical, social-emotional, and intellectual development results in dynamic schools where students thrive!” explained Michelle Saller, Site Visitation Chair of the Colorado Schools to Watch program. “Westview 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.”

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. Three schools will be redesignated this year as Colorado Trailblazer Schools to Watch: Basalt Middle School (Roaring Forks School District), Fort Morgan Middle School (Fort Morgan School District) and Wellington Middle (Poudre School District).All_at_theEnd_IMG_1036

“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 over 350 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.

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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. (www.middlegradesforum.org)

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Next Gen Learning Symposium for the Middle Grades

Real World, Right Now!

the next generation of middle level education

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As our students learn, process and produce more skills, it’s imperative we prepare the education workforce to design, connect and innovate.

On Thursday, October 9, St. Vrain Valley Schools will host a national convening for principals, teachers, administrators, and educational thought leaders. Activities include keynote speakers, interactive breakout sessions and round-table discussions focused on design thinking, connected learning and challenge-based learning.

Recipients of the prestigious i3 and Race to the Top Grant from the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform and St. Vrain will facilitate the conversation around preparing our schools for the next generation of middle school education.

Registration – rwrn.eventbrite.com


 

Agenda

A dynamic, interactive agenda allows participants to engage deeply into one of three Next Gen Learning Strands:

  • Design Thinking
  • Connected Learning
  • Challenge-based Learning

Download a copy of the Agenda.


 

Keynote Speaker

scottmcleodwebScott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D.

Scott McLeod is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues. After 14 years as an Educational Leadership professor, Dr. McLeod currently serves as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa.

His Website: dangerouslyirrelevant.org

 

Featured Presenters

Download a copy of the flyer


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Lesher Middle School Celebrates 2014 Colorado “Schools to Watch” Designation!

hypeBelieve the Hype!

Lesher Middle School is a 2014 Colorado Trailblazer School to Watch and will head to Washington, DC in June to receive national recognition as a model middle school that is academically excellent, developmentally responsive, and socially equitable for all students!

Seven hundred and thirty students packed the bleachers and gym floor at Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins today to celebrate the Colorado School to Watch designation.  The award designation was revealed before an audience that was gathered to celebrate a number of recognition awards including a National Green Ribbon Award and a No Place for Hate Designation.

Students, Staff and Families Celebrate Excellence

“Lesher Middle School demonstrates that high-performance is the result of intentional focus on the whole child. The dynamic, personalized learning environment they have created stimulates student curiosity, creativity, and healthy physical, social-emotional development,” explained Diane Lauer, State Coordinator of the Colorado Schools to Watch program. “Lesher 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. The result is a high achieving school where students thrive!”image001

An Honor and Disctinction

The Colorado Association of Middle Level Education recognized Lesher 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. Lesher is one of four middle schools in Colorado to receive this honor and one of 100 schools nationwide.

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Selection is based on a written application that requires schools to show how they met criteria developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. State teams organized by the Colorado Schools to Watch program conduct site visits in order to affirm that schools indeed meet 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.

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CAMLE Presents the 2014 Colorado Schools to Watch!

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4 exemplary middle schools have been recognized as 2014 Colorado Trailblazer Schools to Watch:

  • Jenkins Middle School (Colorado Springs District 11)
  • Lesher Middle School (Poudre School District)
  • Powell Middle School (Littleton Public Schools)
  • Russell Middle School (Colorado Springs District 11)

CAMLElogoNewThe Colorado Association of Middle Level Education recognizes these schools 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. Jenkins, Lesher, Powell and Russell are four of 100 schools that will be recognized nationwide at the National Schools to Watch Conference on June 26, 2014.

High Performance Results from Relentless Efforts to Support the Whole Child

“These schools demonstrate that high-performance is the result of intentional focus on the whole child. A personalized environment that cultivates student curiosity, creativity, healthy physical, social-emotional, and intellectual development results in dynamic schools where students thrive!” explained Diane Lauer, State Coordinator of the Colorado Schools to Watch program. “These schools recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensuring that every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education.”

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 Association of Middle Level Education 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. Of the four schools identified this year, one was selected as a first time designee, Lesher Middle School located in Fort Collins. The other three schools are being redesignated with the distinction of maintaining a trajectory of achievement for 6-9 years: Jenkins, Powell and Russell.

“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-level school can truly learn from their examples,” 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.

National Schools to Watch Program Upholds Rigorous Selection Criteria

nflogoLaunched 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 over 350 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. (www.middlegradesforum.org)

Russell Middle Achieves a Three-Peat with its 3rd Designation as School to Watch

D11logoIn 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

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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.