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About Schools to Watch

Michigan STW

Schools to Watch® is a national initiative launched in 1999 by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. The National Forum is an alliance of more than 60 educators, researchers, and officers of national associations and foundations dedicated to improving schools for young adolescents across the country.

Through the Schools to Watch® initiative, the National Forum identifies schools across the United States that are well on their way to meeting the Forum's criteria for high performance. There are three things true of high-performing middle-grades schools:

  • They are academically excellent—these schools challenge all students to use their minds well.
  • They are developmentally responsive—these schools are sensitive to the unique developmental challenges of early adolescence.
  • They are socially equitable—these schools are democratic and fair, providing every student with high-quality teachers, resources, and supports.

To achieve this level of performance, high-performing schools establish norms, structures, and organizational arrangements to support and sustain their trajectory toward excellence. They have a sense of purpose that drives every facet of practice and decision-making.

As part of its continuing effort to identify and learn from high-performing middle schools, the National Forum, in collaboration with

  • Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), formerly NMSA,
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP),
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and
  • Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council)

Launched its Schools to Watch® State Program in 2002. Through this program, the Forum has trained teams of education leaders to implement Schools to Watch® programs in their states.

Schools to Watch States Map

The Schools to Watch® program is a state-level model of the nationally recognized Schools to Watch® program created by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.

Current STW states include: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Michigan Schools to Watch® is a state-level partnership that seeks to identify and recognize high-performing middle-grades schools. Through a set of criteria, Michigan STW provides guidance to classroom teachers, administrators, parents, and community members as they evaluate and improve school programs.


Michigan Schools to Watch Partners

Institute for Excellence in Education

Michigan Association of Middle School Educators

Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals

Michigan Department of Education

Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association