Wellington Middle School has been selected as a 2012 Colorado Trailblazer “School to Watch” as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. WMS is one of four exemplary Colorado middle schools honored with the selection.
WMS Principal Alicia Durand said the Wellington staff is honored to receive the “Schools to Watch” designation.
"We have worked hard to assure that our students get the very best we can offer. For WMS, the idea of what schools “should” be doing is more about what schools “must” do. When it’s “must” we find a way to make it happen and we’re consistently working on all we do in the areas of academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational support and processes, which are the criteria for “Schools to Watch,” said Durand. "Our staff is committed to consistently striving for excellence. It is in this striving, that we continue to improve. Our school has always earned a high performance rating from the state of Colorado and with our high growth scores, we are very proud of our staff and our students."
Each school was selected by state leaders for its academic excellence, school responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a collective commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.
"Wellington Middle School, through the leadership of Dr. Durand, has been continuously improving their teaching and schooling for many years," said PSD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Wilson. "Their recent successes with students demonstrating strong, academic growth and successfully completing algebra in the eighth-grade, are examples of why they are a school to watch. PSD is exceptionally proud of Wellington Middle School's accomplishments."
Diane Lauer, State Coordinator of the Colorado Trailblazer “Schools to Watch” program stated, “We congratulate Wellington Middle School for creating an outstanding learning environment where students thrive. This school clearly recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensuring that every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education.”
WMS will be honored during a gala celebration in Washington, D.C on June 21 along with the other newly designated “Schools to Watch” from across the nation. They will have the opportunity to meet with their U.S. Representative on Capitol Hill and join the national conversation related to accelerating educational reform. WMS will also be asked to present at various national, regional and state conferences to share their stories of success.
Selection is based on a written application that required schools to show how they met criteria developed by the Forum. Finalists are chosen and visited by state teams who observe classrooms, interview administrators, teachers, and parents, and look at student achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work. Schools are recognized for a three-year period, and at the end of three years must repeat the process in order to be re-designated.
"We are pleased that our national Schools to Watch program demonstrates that schools can meet high academic expectations while preserving a commitment to healthy development and equity for all students," said Dr. Deborah Kasak, Forum executive director. "These Schools to Watch are indeed special; they make education so exciting that students and teachers don't want to miss a day. These schools have proven that it is possible to overcome barriers to achieving excellence, and any middle-level school in any state can truly learn from their examples," Kasak said.
The National Forum sponsors the Schools to Watch state program with the support of members,the National Association for Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Middle School Association, the National Staff Development Council, and the State Schools to Watch programs.