South Carolina
Association for MIddle Level Education

SCHOOLS TO WATCH NEWS

January 19, 2020

Batesburg-Leesville Middle School in Lexington School District 3, Beck International Academy in Greenville County School District, Muller Road Middle School in Richland 2 and Sevier Middle School in Greenville County School District are the latest South Carolina middle schools to be named Schools to Watch® by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. The schools’ emphasis on strong academics, sensitivity to young adolescents’ needs and interests, and commitment to providing all students equal access to a high-quality education resulted in the well-deserved recognition.

Schools are recognized for a three-year period, at the end of which they must apply for re-designation and demonstrate that they are continuing to meet the National Forum’s rigorous criteria. The following 4 South Carolina middle schools were re-designated as Schools to Watch:

  • ·Blythewood Middle School (Richland School District 2) has been re-designated for the fourth time, first recognized twelve years ago.
  • Palmetto Middle School (Anderson School District 1) has been re-designated for the fourth time, first recognized twelve years ago.
  • Castle Heights Middle School (York School District 3) has been re-designated for the third time, first recognized nine years ago. 
  • College Park Middle School (Berkeley School District) has been re-designated for the third time, first being recognized nine years ago. 
  • League Academy (Greenville County School District) has been re-designated for the third time, first being recognized nine years ago. 
  • Campobello-Gramling School (Spartanburg School District 1) has been re-designated for the second time, first being recognized six years ago. 
  • Chapin Middle School (Lexington/Richland 5 School District)---first recognized three years ago—was re-designated for the first time. 
  • Crayton Middle School (Richland School District 1)---first recognized three years ago—was re-designated for the first time. 
  • Mid-Carolina Middle School (Newberry School District)---first recognized three years ago—was re-designated for the first time.

These principals, teachers and staff members along with their communities have dedicated themselves to being strong exemplars for sustaining growth and development of their students. Schools are required to submit an extensive application, undergo a site review, and display a strong commitment to the thirty-seven criteria for high performing middle schools identified by the National Forum. Their success has earned them this highly sought after designation. Each of these schools have made a commitment to the Schools to Watch Framework for continuous school improvement.

South Carolina currently has twenty schools who have received this designation. Nationwide there are nearly 450 schools who have earned this designation.

To be selected as a Schools to Watch, schools need to be:

· Academically Excellent. Is the curriculum rigorous and relevant to the real world?

· Developmentally Responsive. Do students have a safe, healthy and personalized learning environment that is responsive to the unique needs and interests of young adolescents?

· Socially Equitable. Do all students have access to high-quality classes and the support they need to achieve at high levels?

· Organized with Supportive Structure. Is there shared leadership, collaborative learning communities, targeted professional development and effective organizational structures?

These schools are available for interested educators to visit and learn about the application and see first-hand what made them a Schools to Watch. They also will be showcased as models throughout the state and the nation to promote their approaches to instruction, parent and community involvement, and professional development. The schools will be recognized at the South Carolina Middle School Conference in Myrtle Beach on March 2, 2019 and will be recognized this summer in Washington, DC at the National Schools to Watch Conference.

In 2006, South Carolina became a state Schools to Watch state by the National Forum to replicate the Schools to Watch program as a way to identify high-performing middle grades schools to serve as models of excellence for other schools. Currently, 17 states are involved in this school reform and recognition initiative. The program is sponsored by the South Carolina Association for Middle Level Education and the Center for Educational Partnerships at USC.

For more information about the state’s Schools to Watch program, please contact SC Schools to Watch Co Directors Tina Jamison and Dr. David McDonald at stw@scamle.org.

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The vision of South Carolina Association for Middle Level Education, the leading proponent for the education of young adolescents, is to serve as an advocate for quality middle level education; promote public awareness and create support; and provide quality member services.

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South Carolina 
Association for Middle Level Education

225 Gardenwalk Drive
West Columbia, SC 29170

Phone +1.803.261.6117 (call or text)

E-mail: tina.jamison@scamle.org

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