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Schools To Watch™—Taking Center Stage Program

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

June 7, 2013


Dear District and County Superintendents and Middle School Principals:

INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2013–14 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 2013–14 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 Academic Performance Index (API) schoolwide growth target for three of the previous five years (from [please note that the June 4 copy of this letter mistakenly included 2007–08] 2008–09 to 2012–13).

  2. The school must have met or exceeded the API growth targets for all numerically significant school groups for three of the previous five years (from [please note that the June 4 copy of this letter mistakenly included 2007–08] 2008–09 to 2012–13).

  3. The CDE has concluded there were no adult testing irregularities during 2012–13 at the school site.

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. 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 to view the current 48 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 STW™ SSRR documents, developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, which are located on the CLMS California STW™—TCS High Performing Middle School Models Web site at http://www.clms.net/stw/

  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

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, CDE, California League of Middle Schools (CLMS), California Middle Grades Partnership Network (CMGPN), California School Boards Association (CSBA), STW™—TCS, California State Parent Teacher Association (CAPTA), California Teachers Association (CTA), Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), and United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA).

The 2013–14 applications are due by Wednesday, October 2, 2013. 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 Craig Cheslog, Principal Advisor to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, by phone at 916-319-0554 or by e-mail at ccheslog@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT:cc
2013-04884
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