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Taking Center Stage Act II: Middle Grades Success

To illustrate and support the California Department of Education's (CDE) 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success, the content shares research and practices for helping students succeed and ideas and topics for professional learning.

In 2008, the California Department of Education (CDE) created a dynamic, web-based publication to provide educators with relevant information pertaining to middle grades. Taking Center Stage—Act II (TCSII): Ensuring Success and Closing the Achievement Gap for All of California’s Middle Grades Students was designed to promote, illustrate, and support the concepts embedded in the California Department of Education’s (CDE) 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success. Created specifically for middle grades educators, TCSII content offers developmentally responsive and research-based practices through videos, professional learning activities, and best practice vignettes focused on the young adolescent.

Brain research and adolescent development-related information are also featured in TCSII. Research has shown that the human brain experiences a growth spurt during the young adolescent years that enables the brain to be highly receptive to learn new information and skills. This provides an inspiring opportunity for middle grades teachers to take advantage of their students' optimum capacity to learn.

TCSII’s origins reach back to 1987 with the seminal report, Caught in the Middle: Educational Reform for Young Adolescents in California Public Schools. In 2000, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Middle Grades Task Force published a sequel, Taking Center Stage, this time focusing on standards, assessment, and accountability. Taking Center Stage—Act II (TCSII) further refined that focus with the CDE’s 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success, which were developed in collaboration with the California Middle Grades Alliance and designed to ensure success for all middle grades students.

TCSII highlights developmentally appropriate strategies for turning California’s middle grades schools into centers of academic excellence and meaningful learning—the cornerstones for closing the achievement gap. Content explaining the stages of young adolescent development is also provided and includes Teaching Tips and Parenting Tips demonstrating how to put the developmental-based strategies into action in the classroom and at home. Professional Learning Activities are also available and are designed to help educators access professional growth opportunities any time and from any place. In addition, videos featuring developmentally responsive and research-based practices are available.

For your convenience, the original digital content remains available and may be accessed online using the links below.

Important: Many of the video vignettes are an integral part of one or more of the professional learning activities developed to support the implementation of the CDE’s 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success. The videos are linked from the Middle Grades Success Videos Web page.


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Questions:   Peter Callas | | 916-319-0669
Last Reviewed: Friday, January 06, 2023
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