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Essential Elements: Schools-To-Watch

Promoting Excellence in Middle Level Programming for our State’s Young Adolescents

New York State is a member of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, National Schools-to-Watch Program. New York recognized that the criteria outlined by the National Forum closely aligned with the Department’s Seven Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle Level Schools and Programs and the Regents Policy Statement on Middle Level Education.  The program, adopted in 2004, and entitled the Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch Program (EE:STW) focuses on school improvement and recognition.  EE:STW recognizes schools that demonstrate continuous improvement and excel in the following four domains; academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structure. The program is non competitive and is designed to promote and guide the school improvement process as well as highlight characteristics of high performing schools with middle grades. EE:STW is a vehicle for school reform in as much as it is tenable for any school to use the tools and application kit to guide their school improvement efforts and eventually apply for recognition when they have demonstrated evidence that they are on a trajectory for improvement in these critical domain areas. The State Education Department in partnership with the NY State Middle School Association, New York State Middle Level Liaisons and the NYS United Teachers, as well as other academic associations across the State continue to seek applications. For more information select the National Schools to Watch Program.

Congratulations to the 2020 Schools-to-Watch Designees 

Initial Designations:

A.D. Oliver Middle School

Island Trees Middle School

Jonas E. Salk Middle School

1st Re-Designation

Ada Cosgrove Middle School

Memorial Junior High School

3rd Re-Designation

Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School

Garden City Middle School


A Complete List of Active Essential Elements: Schools-To-Watch (EE:STWs)

Applications and Information

 Initial Application for 2020-2021 Word

Initial Application for 2020-2021 PDF

Redesignation Application for 2020-2021 Word

Redesignation Application for 2020-2021 PDF

Application Instructions

Self Study and Rating Rubic 

Schools To Watch/Essential Elements Criteria Crosswalk

Is Your School Ready to Begin the Applicaton Process? 13 Things to Consider