FMS re-designated an Essential Elements School to Watch by NYS Education Department

The Guilderland Central School District is proud to announce that Farnsworth Middle School was recently re-designated for the second time as an Essential Elements School to Watch (EESTW) by the New York State Education Department and the Essential Elements Schools to Watch leadership team. Farnsworth was first recognized as a School to Watch in March 2011.

This prestigious designation recognizes the middle school’s continued commitment to enhancing school programs and practices. Farnsworth is one of only 30 schools from throughout New York to currently be named a School to Watch.

Farnsworth Middle School was commended for developing a model educational program in New York State that is consistent with the Regents Policy Statement on Middle Level Education, the Essential Elements of a Standards Focused Middle Level School, and the National Forum’s Schools to Watch criteria.

EESTW recognizes schools that demonstrate continuous improvement and excel in the following four domains: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structure. Farnsworth was selected by state leaders for its academic excellence, its responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and its commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels. In addition, Farnsworth—like all designated schools—was proven to show strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.

Selection into the EESTW program is based on a written application; schools that meet the necessary criteria are then visited by state teams who observe classrooms and interview administrators, teachers, students, and parents. State teams also look at school achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work to help inform their selection process. Selected 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.

Only a few hundred schools nationally are presently designated as a School to Watch. The schools vary in size from several hundred to several thousand students and represent urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Farnsworth Middle School will be formally recognized as both a State and National School to Watch at the upcoming National Schools to Watch Conference in Washington, D.C. this June.

For more information on the Schools to Watch program, visit the NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT WEBSITE (state level) or the NATIONAL FORUM TO ACCELERATE MIDDLE-GRADES REFORM WEBSITE (national level).

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