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California Schools to Watch

*Re-designated Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage 2017 Recipient
California Schools to Watch
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates California’s 2014

"Schools to Watch—Taking Center Stage" Model Middle Schools

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 11 high-performing California middle schools have been newly designated as model middle grades schools in the 2013-14 Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage (STW™—TCS) program.

Torlakson also announced that the sustained progress of 12 previously chosen STW™—TCS schools will allow them to retain their designation.

"This is exciting news for all of these hardworking schools that have made impressive gains in student achievement,” Torlakson said. “I congratulate both those new to the list and those with continuing success. They are committed to providing their students with the kind of strong academic foundation needed to succeed as they move toward high school and continue preparing for college and careers.”

STW™—TCS middle grades schools are high-performing model schools that demonstrate academic excellence, developmental responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, social equity, and organizational support. These model schools host visitors from California and around the world who are looking for replicable practices that will help them improve their middle grades schools and close the achievement gap.

The California Department of Education and the California League of Middle Schools are the lead agencies in the STW™—TCS program, with the support of the California Middle Grades Alliance , a cross-organizational collaborative dedicated to providing policy assistance and encouragement for California’s 1.5 million middle grades students.

In order to become a STW™—TCS model middle school, applicants must have met or exceeded the Academic Performance Index (API) schoolwide growth target for three of the previous five years (2008–09 to 2012–13). School administrators must conduct a self-study evaluation and complete an extensive narrative application. Each site is then reviewed by a team of middle grades experts. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years. For more information on each school’s API score and California Standards Tests (CSTs) results, please to go CDE’s School and District Report Web page.

Riverside County
  • Landmark Middle School (Moreno Valley Unified School District, Moreno Valley), an urban school with 89 percent minority and 81 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Over the last five years, 9 percent more students are scoring at the advanced or proficient level on the CSTs.