Schools to Watch® is an initiative launched by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in 1999. Through this initiative, the National Forum identifies schools across the country that are well on their way of meeting the Forum’s criteria for high performance. Forum members believe that four things are true of high- performing middle-grades schools:
1. Academic Excellence: These schools challenge all students to use their minds well.
2. Developmental Responsiveness: These schools are sensitive to the unique developmental challenges of early adolescence.
3. Social Equity: These schools are democratic and fair, providing every student with high-quality teachers, resources, and supports.
4. Organizational Structures/Supports: These schools share a vision and promote a learning community of practice.
MAMS has had multiple years of quality instruction and innovative programming which led to this award being earned in 2014 and redesignated in 2017. Most recently, student achievement has been celebrated as the 2018-2019 accountability data ranked MAMS in the top 5% for growth and top 11% for proficiency in North Carolina. Additionally, 7th-grade mathematics ranked #1 in the state and 6th-grade reading ranked #9 in the state. The school’s staff should be commended for the high level of instruction and care they have continued to exhibit toward students and families.
Principal Olivia Sikes notes, “We are honored to receive this award, recognizing our efforts toward continued success and growth at Mount Airy Middle School. Our focus on personalized and innovative learning opportunities for all students helps set us apart, as recognized through the redesignation as a National Schools to Watch® recipient.”
Superintendent Dr. Kim Morrison affirms the recognition by saying, “I am proud of the accomplishments of Mount Airy Middle School. They have continued to lead the way in excellence and innovation. The redesignation of Schools to Watch® confirms all of the hard work of the students, staff, and administrators. This program highlights the top schools in the nation. It is evident that Mount Airy Middle School belongs on that list.”
Members of Mount Airy Middle School staff will attend the 16th Annual Schools to Watch® conference in Washington, D.C. in June to receive this award.