Farnsworth Middle School designated as an Essential Elements: School-to-Watch for fourth term

Farnsworth Middle School has been named an Essential Elements: School-to-Watch for its fourth consecutive three-year term. This program identifies and recognizes middle-level schools and programs that are academically excellent, developmentally appropriate, socially equitable and organized to ensure continuous improvement. Designated schools serve as examples for successful implementation of the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education and the NYS State Education Department’s Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level Schools and Programs.

FMS Principal Michael Laster would like to thank all the teachers and staff members who helped complete the self reflection survey and the re-designation application. “This process began during the 2022-2023 school year, just as we were getting back to school the way it used to be before the pandemic. Despite the challenges of this transition period, we felt the completion of the re-designation process was important, he said.”

Mr. Laster added, “Receiving this designation is evidence that Farnsworth Middle School provides an excellent, research-based program and experience for our middle-level learners. As a school community we should be excited about this accomplishment and good news.”

This year’s Schools to Watch were announced by NYSED Commissioner Rosa at the Middle-Level Liaisons conference in March.

New York State is a member of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, National Schools-to-Watch Program. New York recognized that the criteria outlined by the National Forum closely aligned with the NYS Department’s Seven Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle Level Schools and Programs and the Regents Policy Statement on Middle Level Education. The program, adopted in 2004, and entitled the Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch Program (EE:STW) focuses on school improvement and recognition.

EE:STW recognizes schools that demonstrate continuous improvement and excel in the following four domains; academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structure. The program is non competitive and is designed to promote and guide the school improvement process as well as highlight characteristics of high performing schools with middle grades. EE:STW is a vehicle for school reform in as much as it is tenable for any school to use the tools and application kit to guide their school improvement efforts and eventually apply for recognition when they have demonstrated evidence that they are on a trajectory for improvement in these critical domain areas.

The State Education Department in partnership with the NY State Middle School Association, New York State Middle Level Liaisons and the NYS United Teachers, as well as other academic associations across the State continue to seek applications. For more information please visit the Essential Elements Schools to Watch program website.

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