Rowland Unified School District

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Alvarado named Exceptional "Schools to Watch" Again - To Be Recognized in Washington D.C.

Alvarado Intermediate in Rowland Heights To Be Recognized in Washington D.C.
Champaign-Urbana, IL – Ninety-eight exemplary middle-grades schools in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan,  New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia have been named “Schools to Watch” as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. 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. [list of schools below] *Alvarado Intermediate in Rowland Heights has been redesignated again as a “Schools to Watch.” The school was first named a Model Middle School in 2004 and re-designated in 2007.

“We are thrilled to have received this recognition,” said Principal Ying Tsao. “Our staff and students have worked very hard in an exciting and challenging middle school program to demonstrate strong student achievement. This re-designation is an affirmation of the fine work so many have done in the school, district and larger community.”  

Alvarado Intermediate will receive their national recognition award in Washington D.C. on June 24, 2011. Dr. Irvin Howard, director of California’s Schools to Watch – Taking Center Stage program, noted, “Alvarado Intermediate School is a model of what an outstanding middle school can be. School leaders from across the state will now turn to Alvarado Intermediate School for guidance on improving their programs to better serve their students.”
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 ninety-eight 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.

 "We are pleased that our 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. Deborah Kasak, Forum executive director.  "These 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-grades school in any state can truly learn from their examples," Kasak 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 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.
National Forum Schools to Watch Contact: Deborah Kasak, Executive Director217.351.2196
The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform

National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform
New & Re-Designated “Schools to Watch”

STATE DIRECTORS: Mona Briggs (501)658-1811

         Charles Green (501)851-4857


Brookland Middle School - Brookland

Central Middle School, Van Buren


Redesignation I

Cabot Middle School North-Cabot

Helen Tyson Middle School, Springdale

J.O. Kelly Middle School-Springdale


STATE DIRECTOR: Irvin Howard (951)318-7515


Calavera Hills Middle School, Carlsbad

Carnegie Middle School, Orangevale

La Paz Intermediate School, Mission Viejo

Vista Verde Middle School, Moreno Valley 

Washington Academic Middle School, Sanger


Redesignation I

Alta Sierra Intermediate School, Clovis

Kastner Intermediate School, Clovis 


Redesignation II


Alvarado Intermediate, Rowland Heights – Located at 1901 S. Desire Avenue, Rowland Heights.


Bernice Ayer Middle School, San Clemente

John F. Kennedy Middle School, El Centro

Rancho Milpitas Middle School, Milpitas

Robert A. Millikan Middle School, Sherman Oaks



STATE DIRECTOR: Diane Lauer (970)613-7398


Altona Middle School, Longmont

Gypsum Creek Middle School, Gypsum

Hotchkiss K-8, Hotchkiss

Jenkins Middle School, Colorado Springs

Powell Middle School, Littleton

Steamboat Springs middle School, Steamboat Springs


Redesignation I

Russell Middle School, Colorado Springs



STATE DIRECTOR: Linda Hopping (404)317-3679


East Jackson Middle School, Commerce

Waycross Middle School, Waycross


Redesignation II - 

Upson Lee Middle School, Thomaston







STATE DIRECTORS: Deb Schrock (309) 438-4510

                                      Gary Weilbacher (309)438-4510


Jefferson Middle School, Champaign


Redesignation II

Gordon Gregory Middle School, Naperville

Indian Creek Middle School, Waterman

Kennedy Junior High School, Lisle


STATE DIRECTOR: Shirley Wright 317-894-2937


Eastwood Middle School, Indianapolis

Northview Middle School, Indianapolis

Tri-West Middle School, Lizton

Westlane Middle School, Indianapolis



STATE DIRECTORS: Karen Hamilton (859)622-1513 

                                      Fran Salyers (859)608-2368


Monroe Middle School, Tompkinsville

North Middle School, Henderson


Redesignation I

Belfry Middle School, Belfry

Benton Middle School, Benton


Redesignation II
Olmstead School, Olmstead



STATE DIRECTOR: Steve Hoelscher (248)249-3265


Shelby Middle School, Shelby


Redesignation I

Mill Creek Middle School, Dexter




STATE DIRECTORS: David McNair (609)777-3578 

         Gail Hillard-Nelson (908)737-3866



STATE DIRECTORS: David Payton (518)356-3299

                                      Marybeth Casey (518)474-0059


Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School, Port Washington

Garden City Middle School, Garden City

Hugo Newman College Preparatory  School PS/IS 180, New York City


Redesignation I

Pioneer Middle School, Yorkshire



STATE DIRECTORS: John Harrison (910)235-3761


McGee’s Crossroads Middle School, Benson

Piedmont Middle School, Charlotte


Redesignation I

Kernsville Middle School, Kernsville

Kernodle Middle School, Greensboro

Rogers-Herr Middle School, Durham

West Pine Middle School, West End


Redesignation II

Carmel Middle School, Charlotte

East Yancey Middle School, Burnsville

Jay M. Robinson Middle School, Charlotte



STATE DIRECTOR: Dan Stacey (614)644-6325


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










STATE DIRECTORS: Paul Meck (717)697-8909

                                      Bruce Vosburgh (610)347-2000 ext.3811


Beaty-Warren Middle School, Warren 

Canonsburg Middle School, Canonsburg

Mount Nittany Middle School, State College

Park Forest Middle School, State College

SenecaValley Middle School, Harmony

Titusville Middle School, Titusville


Redesignation I

Boyce Middle School, Upper Saint Clair 

Fort Couch Middle School, Pittsburgh

Lenape Middle School, Doylestown



STATE DIRECTORS: Linda Allen (843)839-5025

                                      Tina White (803)734-3397 


Castle Heights Middle School. Rock Hill

College Park Middle School, Ladson

League Academy of Communication Arts, Greenville 

Pickens Middle School, Pickens

T. E. Mabry Middle School, Inman


Redesignation I

Blythewood Middle School, Blythewood

Palmetto Middle School, Williamston 



STATE DIRECTORS: Cecil Floyd (512)462-1105

                                      Melissa Seward (512)462-1105


Alexander Middle School, Pearland                                     

Bradley Middle School, San Antonio                                                           

Bush Middle School, San Antonio                                                    

Chapa Middle School, Kyle                                      

Chisholm Trail Middle School, Rhome                                

Dawson Middle School, Southlake                                       

Eastwood Middle School, El Paso                                        

KIPP Aspire Academy, San Antonio                                    

Lone Oak Middle School, Lone Oak                                    

Pershing Middle School, Houston                                        

Wester Middle School, Frisco                                              



STATE DIRECTORS: Lori Gardner (435)615-0222     


Kearn Junior High School, Kearns 


Redesignation I

Eisenhower Junior High School, Taylorsville

Tonaquint Intermediate School, St. George



STATE DIRECTOR:  Sandy Dutemple (703)368-6465


Bull Run Middle School, Gainesville

Gainesville Middle School, Gainesville

Stonewall Middle School, Manassas

Pennington Traditional School, Manassas

Damascus Middle School, Damascus 

Stone Hill Middle School, Ashburn


Redesignation I

Short Pump Middle School, Glen Allen

Blue Ridge Middle School, Purceville


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