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Invitation to the Schools To Watch Program

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

July 26, 2012

Dear District and County Superintendents and Middle School Principals:

INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2012–13
SCHOOLS TO WATCH™—TAKING CENTER STAGE PROGRAM

I am pleased to announce that the California Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage (STW™—TCS) application process for 2012–13 is now open. The STW™—TCS program identifies model middle grades schools that are academically excellent, developmentally responsive, socially equitable, and have a culture of strong collaborative leadership while substantially increasing student academic achievement. The California Department of Education (CDE) has set forth eligibility requirements to apply. These include the following:

  1. The school must have met or exceeded the schoolwide Academic Performance Index (API) growth target for the 2010–11 year and have met or exceeded the schoolwide API growth targets in any two of the previous four years (2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10).

  2. The school must have met or exceeded the API growth targets for all numerically significant student groups for the 2010–11 year and have met or exceeded the API growth targets for all numerically significant student groups in any two of the previous four years (2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10).

  3. The CDE has concluded there were no adult testing irregularities that occurred during 2011–12 at the school site.

  4. The school is not currently in nor will be in Program Improvement for school year 2012–13.

  5. The CDE will determine, when data are available, if the school has met or exceeded the 2012 API growth targets for schoolwide and all numerically significant student groups to ensure continued eligibility.
After eligibility is secured, the final selection of schools will be based on how well the school addresses the STW™ criteria in the School Self-Study and Rating Rubric (SSRR) developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform.

California has participated in the STW™ program since 2002 with the support and participation of members of the California Middle Grades Alliance.1 In a collaborative effort, schools are designated to serve as models for challenged middle grades schools whose educators are seeking best practices for their own young adolescent students to increase whole-child success. Please visit the California League of Middle Schools (CLMS) STW™—TCS Web page at http://www.clms.net/stw/schools.htm External link opens in new window or tab. to view all current 36 model school profiles.

The CDE and CLMS developed several useful documents to complete the application process. Please access the following documents regarding the STW™—TCS program:

  1. The Principal’s Checklist, application, and the STW™ SSRR documents, developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform located on the CLMS California STW™—TCS High Performing Middle School Models Web page at http://www.clms.net/stw/ External link opens in new window or tab. .

  2. The same SSRR document as above located on the CDE California STW™—TCS Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/mg/stw.asp.

  3. The SSRR Tool and SSRR Tool Manual documents located on the CDE California STW™—TCS Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/mg/stw.asp.

  4. The CDE’s 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success on the CDE Taking Center Stage—Act II (TCSII) Recommendations for Success Web page at http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/recsforsuccess/recsforsuccessindx.aspx External link opens in new window or tab. .

The 2012–13 applications are due Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Please note that schools that self-select their student population or have special entry requirements for students to attend the school cannot be considered for a STW™—TCS designation.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Marsha Robinson, Education Programs Consultant, K–12 Innovation and Improvement Office, by phone at 916-319-0352 or by e-mail at mrobinson@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT:er

The California Middle Grades Alliance is a cross-organizational collaborative dedicated to providing policy support for California’s 1.5 million middle grades students. It is comprised of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) of California; Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)—Middle Grades Council; California Department of Education (CDE)—K-12 Innovation and Improvement Office; California League of Middle Schools (CLMS); California Middle Grades Partnership Network (CMGPN); California School Boards Association (CSBA); California Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage (STW™—TCS); California State Parent Teacher Association (CAPTA); California Teachers Association (CTA); Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP); and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA).

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