Academics » Schools to Watch

Schools to Watch


From the California Schools to Watch Website (

The goals of the Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage program are to:

  • Create a research-based definition of the characteristics shared by high-performing middle schools.
  • Identify high-performing, high needs middle schools throughout California.
  • Share the real-world strategies in place at these sites with educators from middle schools throughout the state via web-based school tours, school site visits, and phone or e-mail consultations.
  • Provide a nationally proven School Self-Study and Rating Rubric via the Internet that all middle schools can use to evaluate and improve their school's instructional program.
  • Establish a statewide network of high-performing middle schools, with every high-performing school actively involved in assisting struggling middle schools that share either a geographic region or student population characteristics.

Each year, the program identifies middle schools that are academically excellent, developmentally responsive, socially equitable, and structured for success.  In the words of State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, "These middle schools teach deeply to standards, assess ongoing student progress, and use data to make decisions.  They develop confident and capable adolescent citizens, differentiate instruction for all learners, and provide effective interventions to struggling students and English learners."

The sites selected to be Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage model schools meet the unique challenges of their student populations and share a strong, ongoing record of student achievement.