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Castaic Middle School Earns School To Watch Honors Again

Teamwork at Castaic Middle School earns campus high honors, recognition from the state.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell recently
recognized Castaic Middle
School as one of seven California
schools redesignated as model middle schools in the Schools to Watch™–Taking
Center Stage (STW-TCS) program.


“These seven schools continue to make progress on their
trajectory toward success as high-performing middle schools. They meet the
distinctive needs of their students, help build a strong record of student
achievement, and are making significant progress toward narrowing the
achievement gap,” said O’Connell. “Credit goes to the students, their teachers,
administrators, and parents who all work hard together making these schools
examples of educational excellence.”

"We are thrilled to have received this recognition," said
Principal Ellen Edeburn. "Our staff and students have worked very hard in an
exciting and challenging middle school program to demonstrate strong student
achievement. This recognition is an affirmation of the fine work so many have
done in the school, district and larger community."


The other re-designated schools are: Culver
City Middle School;Gaspar
de Portola Middle School (San Diego);
McKinnleyville Middle
School (Humboldt
County); R.H.
Dana Middle School
(Hawthorne); Silverado
Middle School (Placer
County) and Toby
Johnson Middle School
(Sacramento County).


Castaic, Culver City, and Silverado middle schools have been
STW–TCS schools for six years and were among the first schools in the national
program to be re-designated a second time. Despite changes in leadership in
many of these schools, the vision and progress continues, as shown by the hard
work and dedication of the faculty and support of the district and


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


In order to be named a STW-TCS re-designee, schools must
have conducted an extensive self-study and completed a narrative application.
Each site was reviewed by a team of middle grades experts in January 2009. The
process gauged each applicant's understanding and implementation of the
California Department of Education’s 12 recommendations for middle grades
excellence that form the basis of Taking Center Stage—Act II: Ensuring Success
and Closing the Achievement Gap for All of California's Middle Grades Students
(TCSII). Built by, and for, middle grades educators, TCSII is an innovative
Web-based resource.


Selected schools must also be a high-performing middle
school as defined by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. California
is one of 17 states working with the National Forum to designate and promote
model middle schools throughout the country.


Initially, the seven re-designated schools were recognized
for their success in four areas: (1.) implementing best practices focused on
academic achievement; (2.) responding to the developmental needs of young
adolescents; (3.) offering a fair and equitable education for all students; and
(4.) instituting organizational processes and procedures that foster and
sustain academic growth.


The seven middle grades schools named today are among 24
others selected in previous cycles since 2003 as STW-TCS designees. They will
be formally recognized at the California League of Middle Schools annual
conference in San Diego, March 13-15, 2009. At the conference,
the redesignated schools will have an opportunity to showcase their
accomplishments and network with other middle grades educators from around the


STW–TCS is a collaborative effort of 12 education
organizations that form the California Middle Grades Alliance. The
organizations are AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination); the Middle
Grades Council of the Association of California School Administrators; the
Middle and High School Improvement Office of the California Department of
Education; the California League of Middle Schools; the California Middle
Grades Partnership Network; the California School Boards Association; the
California Schools to Watch™–Taking Center Stage Program; the California State
Parent Teacher Association; the California Teachers Association; the Secondary
Subcommittee of the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee of the
California County Superintendents Education Services Association; GEAR UP
(Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs); and United
Way of Greater Los Angeles.


For more information about the Schools to Watch™–Taking
Center Stage model school program, visit



Castaic Middle School Earns School To Watch Honors Again

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