P.O. BOX 2120



September 12, 2003



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Schools To Watch Program Announcement



In the spring of 2003, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform selected Virginia as one of four new states to participate in the Schools to Watch (STW) program. This is a special honor for the commonwealth as only seven states have been selected to participate during the two years the program has been conducted.


The Virginia Schools to Watch application was submitted by the Virginia Middle School Association (VMSA), and is a cooperative effort of VMSA, the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Virginia Department of Education.


The objective of the program is to select up to four outstanding Virginia middle schools that demonstrate success in:


These schools will be considered important resources for other schools to consult in efforts to improve all middle-level programs in the commonwealth. Recipients of the Schools to Watch designation should be prepared for visitors and inquiries about their schools; programs; and beliefs about teaching, learning, and working with middle-level students.


The Virginia STW program will require schools seeking the honor of being selected a School to Watch to meet the following criteria:


On September 22, 2003, the Virginia STW application and process information will be available on the Virginia Middle School Association website at School report cards, to be posted on the Department of Education website later this fall, will provide some of the material needed for the application. This includes accreditation status, AYP data, and additional NCLB information. Applicants will need to provide additional narrative information and school data.


Schools to Watch applications should be sent to Dr. Betty Dore, chairperson of the STW Committee, by November 14, 2003. Trained readers/assessors will review applications and select six to eight schools for two-day site visits by teams of middle-level education leaders. After these visits, the Virginia Schools to Watch finalists will be identified and announced.


Detailed information about National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform and the Schools to Watch program may be obtained at Questions regarding the Virginia Schools to Watch program should be directed to Dr. Betty Dore (, STW chairperson, 6881 Riverbend Drive, Radford, VA 24141, (office) 540-831-5843, (home) 540-731-0036.