Who We Are

The Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch (EE: STW) Program

  • 150_BDS2699Recognizes schools that are exemplars for the implementation of the State Education Department’s Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level Schools and Programs.
  • Is grade specific and targets only the middle-level grades (grades 5-8).
  • Is grounded in research and the wisdom of practice and reflects what is best for the young adolescent learner, both academically and personally.
  • Is established and thriving across New York State (having begun in 2004).
  • Is a no-cost program; participation is voluntary and free.
  • Is constructive, not punitive.
  • Recognizes schools with middle-level grades that have implemented an exemplary middle-level program that addresses both the academic and personal development needs of young adolescents.
  • Requires successful completion of a rigorous and comprehensive application process including an intensive on-site evaluation by their peers.
  • Represents the spectrum of schools with middle-level grades: rural, suburban, small city; large, small; high need, low need, average need; geographically dispersed; various grade configurations: K-12, 5-8, 6-8, 7-8, 6-12
  • Is hosted by the New York State Middle School Association
  • Is administered by an EE: STW Leadership Team which is comprised of representatives from the New York State Middle School Association, the New York State Education Department, the Statewide Network of Middle-Level Education Liaisons, the EE: STW Principals, Institutions of Higher Education, and the K-12 educational community at large.
  • Is affiliated with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform’s national Schools-to-Watch program.
  • Offers both state and national recognition for designated EE: STW schools.
  • Requires that recognized EE: STW schools must be re-evaluated and re-designated every three years, insuring that they remain models for other middle-level schools seeking to improve.
  • Seeks to work with other middle-level schools in New York State that are pursuing systemic and systematic school improvement (i.e., implementation of the Essential Elements) and committed to continuous, sustainable growth.
  • Wishes to support the efforts of the SED to improve and strengthen education in the middle-level grades.