Lewisburg Middle School was recently designated a Kentucky School to Watch (STW). Currently 12 Kentucky middle grades schools have earned this distinction with schools as far east as Boyd County and as far west as Graves County. With this designation for Lewisburg, all of the Logan County schools housing the middle grades have now earned this honor. Logan County is the only Kentucky school district with multiple schools that has all of their eligible schools designated a School to Watch.
Schools to Watch is a national recognition and school improvement program for middle grades schools developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Kentucky is one of 18 states that have implemented the program in partnership with The National Forum. Currently, there are around 450 Schools to Watch nationally.
In June, representatives of Lewisburg School will receive their award at the National Forum’s annual conference in Washington, DC. While at the conference representatives of the school will be scheduled for a visit with the Kentucky representative for their district and the school will be asked to conduct a presentation for conference attendees on one of the specific programs or practices that contributed to the school’s success. While at the conference, they will have the opportunity to network with and learn from the other national Schools to Watch and to hear nationally recognized speakers.
The school was selected as a School to Watch for its academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels. Lewisburg School has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Fran Salyers, co-director of the Kentucky Schools to Watch program, commented “The staff has focused on building caring, nurturing relationships with students and providing each student with a safe learning environment. A program has been developed within the school to address the specific developmental and academic needs of their middle grades students. Our STW visit team was very impressed with all aspects of the school and are excited to name them a Kentucky School to Watch.”
Selection of schools is based on a written application that requires schools to show how they meet 37 criteria developed by the National Forum. Schools that appear to meet the criteria are then visited by a team of trained reviewers who observe classrooms; interview administrators, teachers, students, and parents; and look 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 and show growth in order to be re-designated.
"The Schools to Watch program has shown that schools can meet high academic expectations while preserving a commitment to healthy development and equity for all students," said Dr. Ericka Uskali, National Forum executive director. "The 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 in any state can truly learn from their examples," Uskali 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 the 37 criteria developed by the National Forum. The National Forum web site (http://www.schoolstowatch.org) features profiles of the designated schools, as well as detailed information about the selection criteria used in the recognition program. 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 to identify middle grades schools that meet or exceed that criteria. Kentucky joined the program in 2003 and the state program is coordinated through the Kentucky Middle School Association. More information is available on the Kentucky website, www.kmsaonline.com/schools-to-watch.html.
Kentucky Schools to Watch contact: Fran Salyers, 859-608-2368
National Forum Schools to Watch contact: Ericka Uskali, 217-469-6299