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Schools to Watch

Mt Morris Middle School was recognized as a School to Watch for the second time.

As a School to Watch (STW), Mt. Morris Middle School had to pass a thorough application and evaluation process based on four criteria: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structures and processes. A school can reapply for designation every three years, and since Mt. Morris Middle School was originally designated in 2018, it has received redesignation now in 2021. 

According to the STW requirements, in addition to schools meeting the four criteria, they must also have "strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement."

Courtney Laney, Mt Morris Middle School principal, credits much of the school's success to its philosophy of "educating the whole child."   "Education is a collaborative process," Laney said. "It is built on the foundations of trust, advocacy, communication, and our beliefs in supporting and educating students intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically."

The middle school engages its students through meaningful lessons and uses technology when appropriate. Teachers take their time with lessons to ensure each student understands the content.  "Our teachers are teaching for understanding," Laney said, "they're checking for understanding."

The process to become an STW is pretty extensive involving a multiple page report.  Schools recognized as Schools to Watch must create specific goals to meet. To be redesignated every three years, the school must demonstrate progress on those goals, showing continuous improvement and growth.

Schools that appear to meet the criteria for STW recognition are then visited by state teams to observe classrooms, interview administrators, teachers, students and parents, as well as look at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons and student's work.  This past year, due to COVID-19, state teams conducted reviews virtually.  

Mt. Morris Middle School will received their official award for resignation as a School To Watch on June 22, 2021.  In addition to this successful designation, Mt. Morris Middle School was also selected to present information about their WIN class to a national group of educators.  Mt. Morris Middle School was the only school selected to present from Michigan.

Congratulations Mt. Morris Middle School!

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