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School Strong Programmatic Supports Helps Its Students Outperfrom Others In State

West Carter Middle School, Olive Hill, K.Y.
 

West Carter Middle School has not retained a student in the last five years. Staff members proudly point to this fact as evidence that their decision to not permit zeros is working. Coupled with the ‘no zero’ policy were a number of programmatic supports in mathematics and reading/language arts as well as a strong tutorial program offered multiple times during the day that allowed all students to meet state standards and demonstrate significant academic growth. Six years ago, the school with 475 students in 6th through 8th grade, 69 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged, was one of the lowest performing middle schools in Kentucky; today, the students outperform 90 percent of the students in the state.
 

Strong School Leadership and Collaboration Drives School Success

Woodbridge Middle School, Woodbridge, V.A.
 

Woodbridge Middle School’s transformation is a story about strong principal leadership working collaboratively with the entire school staff to teach each student. This was not a school in need of a transformation; rather it was a school that due to boundary shifts experienced a rapid demographic change necessitating a close examination of instructional practices to meet the needs of entering students. Today’s school in no way resembles the school that was in existence in 2005. Then, the students were mostly white and middle class; today, there is no majority group among the 1038 student,s and almost 50 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. Then, student achievement was average; now it is significantly above average.
 

Rural School Grows Rapidly While Overcoming Tremendous Challenges

Vallivue Middle School, Caldwell, I.D.
 

 Sitting at a high point overlooking a beautiful valley near Boise in Southern Idaho, this rural middle school has recently experienced tremendous growth and challenges in all facets of the school. Through teamwork implementing a highly developed strategic planning process, Vallivue moved from a state designation of “Needs Improvement” to "New School" status in four years. With a more clearly defined emphasis on discipline and attendance issues, a collaborative restructuring of the curriculum, the introduction of best practices instructional methods, and adoption of a data driven assessment model, an environment has been created where the 700 students, of which 70 percent are economically disadvantaged and 30 percent are LEP learners, excel.
 

Targeted, Data-Driven Instruction Drives School Success

Oscar F. Smith Middle School, Chesapeake, V.A.

Tucked into the historic South Norfolk section of the City of Chesapeake, Va., Oscar Smith is home to a diverse student body of nearly 950 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. With a high unemployment rate and pervasive poverty in the community, 84 percent of the students are considered economically disadvantaged and 25 percent are enrolled in special education. Seven years ago, the staff at Smith, under the leadership of a new principal, initiated a systematic process to address student needs. Targeting poor academic performance through a data-driven differentiated instruction model, notable progress has been made. The school community has reviewed and refined the numerous changes and supports, collaboratively institutionalizing the processes and procedures that made it possible.
 

School is Built on the Belief that Every Adult Needs to Commit to Every Child

Lesher Middle School, Fort Collins, C.O.

Lesher Middle School is a school of choice, as are all the schools in the Poudre (Colo.) School District. In 2004, it was a traditional junior high school with declining enrollment. The school had an International Baccalaureate Middle Years (IBMY) program that was only open to select students. Today, it is a thriving middle school, at capacity enrollment with 700 students coming from 29 elementary schools, 40 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged. Now, all the students are enrolled in the IBMY program and are benefiting from a global perspective to their studies. Lesher’s transformation and very survival was built upon the belief that in order to “break ranks,” every adult needs to commit to the success of every child.

New Leadership Revives Storm Devasted School

Lafayette Academy Charter School, New Orleans, L.A.
 

Established as a public charter school in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans community it serves, the true rebirth of this preK–7 school of 800 occurred in 2007 with the appointment of a new head of school. Since then, the student body, which is nearly 100 percent economically disadvantaged, has been the beneficiary of a shared leadership model, intensive staff development, strengthened community connections, and equal access to rigorous coursework. The results are an impressive upward trend from the disappointing 33 percent passing rate on the required 4th grade state tests in 2006 to a 100 percent passing rate in 2010 and 2011, earning the state’s top designation as a Center of Excellence. 

Engaged Leadership Creates Success

Longwood Junior High School, Middle Island, N.Y.
 

Staff leadership at Longwood Junior High School is a major factor for the school's 2012 School to Watch honor. Staff members at Longwood are fully engaged in helping their students learn and are willing to learn and adapt themselves as needed to meet the needs of their students. Professional development is a priority for all staff to stay abreast of the latest research. The staff always stays positive, collectively working to make connections and build relationships with students.
 

An Education Community Aids Student Transition

Pleasantville Middle School, Pleasantville, N.Y.
 

Pleasantville Middle School is an education community that is dedicated to understanding and facilitating the positive transition from childhood to adolescence. Community and staff are committed to providing educational experiences where learning is valued, differences are accepted, wellness is encouraged, and accountability is realized, to assure the development of each students’ intellectual, educational, physical, personal, and social growth.
 

Pennsylvania School Continues to be Recognized for Helping Students Achieve

South Allegheny Middle School, McKeesport, P.A.

 

South Allegheny Middle School has been redesignated as a 2012 Pennsylvania School to Watch by the Pennsylvania Middle School Association (PMSA). South Allegheny Middle School is part of a very select group of 21 schools in Pennsylvania and 300 nationwide that have been designated as Schools to Watch. South Allegheny was selected for its academic excellence, its responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and its commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels. In addition, South Allegheny's strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability bring about continuous improvement.
 

Cutting-edge Strategies Young Learners Succeed

Avonworth Middle School, Pittsburgh, P.A.
 

Avonworth Middle School was redesignated as a National School to Watch. The school was recognized and awarded for its academic institutions for implementing cutting-edge education strategies and best practices that help young adolescents to succeed. Avonworth is known for engaging pre-adolescent learners through project-based learning.
 

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