State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that San Marcos Middle School in the San Marcos Unified School District is one of only 22 high-performing California middle schools to be recognized in the 2017–18 Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage program. The schools join 24 previously chosen schools whose sustained progress will allow them to retain their “Schools to Watch” designation.
"Congratulations to these schools for doing excellent work to help students believe in themselves, set high goals, and dream big," Torlakson said. "These schools are outstanding examples of how educational innovations can keep students engaged and learning throughout a transitional time in their lives."
These high-performing model schools demonstrate academic excellence, social equity, and responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents. For example, San Marcos Middle School has implemented a curriculum challenging students to think critically which resulted in high performance in student writing. And Fruitvale Junior High School in Bakersfield has created an outstanding forensic medical science program allowing students to experience science hands-on and use their skills of analysis, inquiry, and observation.
The Schools to Watch program is sponsored by the California Department of Education, California League of Middle Schools, and the California Middle Grades Alliance. To earn this designation, schools must complete an extensive application that is reviewed by middle grades experts. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years. All of the schools will be recognized in Sacramento at the California Middle Grades Alliance annual luncheon March 1, 2018. For more information about the program, please visit the High Performing Middle School Models webpage.