BMS Redesignated Among National "Schools To Watch"

Beachwood Middle School is among 98 exemplary middle schools in 16 states that have been named “Schools to Watch” as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. This is a redesignation of the distinction the school first earned in 2007. BMS Principal Linda LoGalbo and Beachwood Schools Superintendent Richard Markwardt, Ph.D., will accept the award at the State Board of Education Meeting next month in Columbus.

Having established partnerships with education leaders in these states, the Forum today announced the names of schools in each state that meet its strict criteria.

Each school was selected by state leaders 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, each school has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.

Linda Hopping, Chair of the National Forum’s Schools to Watch Oversight Committee stated, “These schools demonstrate that high-performing middle grades schools have a clear focus on academic growth and achievement. They also recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensuring that each and every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education. We are proud to have these schools serve as models from which others can learn.”

Selection is based on a written application that required schools to show how they met criteria developed by the Forum.  Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by state teams who observed classrooms, interviewed administrators, teachers, students, and parents, and looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, 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.  Thirty-eight of the 98 schools recognized have maintained or increased their levels of excellence and are being re-designated. The schools vary in size from several hundred to several thousand students and represent urban, suburban, and rural communities.

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 web site ( features detailed information about the selection criteria. The STW process provided the framework for the successful Investing in Innovation (i3) Development grant received in October 2010 from the  U. S. Department of Education.  The National Forum’s “The Schools to Watch:  School Transformation Network” concentrates on assisting 18 persistently low performing middle grades schools in CA, IL and NC.

In 2002, the Forum began working with states to replicate the Schools to Watch program as a way to introduce the Forum's criteria for high-performance and identify middle grades schools that meet or exceed that criteria. Different education organizations have taken the lead in each state, but all have received training and support from the Forum to implement their Schools to Watch programs.  The lead state organizations are the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Education, the California League of Middle Schools, the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education, the Georgia Middle School Association, the Association of Illinois Middle Schools, the Indiana Middle Level Education Association, the Kentucky Center for Middle School Academic Achievement, the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, Garden State Partnership for Teacher Quality and New Jersey Department of Education, the New York State Middle School Association & New York State Department of Education, the North Carolina Middle School Association, the Ohio Department of Education, the Oregon Middle Level Association, the Pennsylvania Middle School Association, the South Carolina Middle School Association, the Texas Middle School Association, the Utah Middle Level Association and the Virginia Middle School Association.  All together, nineteen states are currently involved in the program and the addition of these schools raises the total number of Schools to Watch to 287 nationwide.

The National Forum sponsors the Schools to Watch state program with the support of its members and the State Schools to Watch programs.  Schools will convene at the Schools to Watch Conference in the Washington, DC, area June 23-25, 2011.

The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is an alliance of 50 educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations dedicated to improving education in the middle grades.


OHIO: New & Re-Designated “Schools to Watch”

Central Intermediate School, Wadsworth                                           
E. H. Greene Intermediate School, Cincinnati
Teays Valley West Middle School, Commercial Point

Redesignation I
Canaan Middle School, Plain City
Beachwood Middle School, Beachwood
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