About California Schools to Watch™ - Taking Center Stage
Download a copy of our brochure (PDF)

Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage is a statewide program implemented by the following organizations:

Lead Agencies
• California League of Middle Schools (CLMS)
• California Department of Education (CDE)

Program Partners
• California Middle Grades Alliance, a partnership of:

Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), California Department of Education (CDE), Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC) of California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCESA), California League of Middle Schools (CLMS), California Middle Grades Partnership Network (CMGPN), California School Boards Association (CSBA), California Parent Teachers Association (CAPTA), California Teachers Association (CTA), Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA)

• National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform
• Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage Model Schools

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 (PDF) 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. 

Thanks to the Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage program, thousands of middle school educators have accessed free online professional development resources.  Hundreds of phone calls and in-person visits have been made to model schools. Strategies are being shared that benefit thousands of middle school children.

The Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage program is affiliated with, and based upon criteria established by, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.

© California League of Middle Schools • 800-326-1880 • info@clms.net