HEBER — Heber School in the Heber Elementary School District named “Schools to Watch” as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Heber is one forty-seven schools from California that have earned the recognition.
Each School to Watch Awardee is selected 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, each school has a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement, strong leadership and teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction.
“This is an amazing accomplishment for our teachers, staff, students and our school community. We look forward to maintaining and exceeding the high standards that we hold dear at our school,” said Patty Marcial, principal of Heber School.
Dr. Irv Howard, STW State Director, California Schools to Watch said, “These schools demonstrate that high-performing middle grades schools have a clear focus on academic growth and achievement. They also recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensuring that each and every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education. We are proud to have these schools serve as models from which others can learn.”
Selection is based on a written application that required schools to show how they met criteria developed by the Forum. Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by state teams who observed classrooms, interviewed administrators, teachers, students and parents, and looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons and student work. 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. The schools vary in size from several hundred to several thousand students and represent urban, suburban and rural communities.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be a California School to Watch!” said Cynthia Silva, Vice-principal at Heber School. “I am so proud of the efforts of staff and students – all the hard work is paying off. Go Hawks!”
Launched in 1999, Schools to Watch began as a national program to identify middle-grades schools across the country that were meeting or exceeding 37 criteria developed by the Forum. In 2002, the Forum began working with states to replicate the Schools to Watch program as a way to introduce the Forum’s criteria for high-performance and identify middle grades schools that meet or exceed that criteria.