Loudoun County, Va. (March 8, 2015) – The Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Office of Middle School Education announced that J. Michael Lunsford and Seneca Ridge middle schools have been designated and Belmont Ridge, Mercer and Smart’s Mill middle schools have been re-designated as “Schools to Watch” at the Tuesday, February 24th, meeting of the Loudoun County School Board.
Sponsored by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, the goal of Schools to Watch is to identify and recognize outstanding middle schools across the nation based on the following research based criteria:
- High-performing middle schools are academically excellent. All students are expected to meet high standards and all teachers use instructional strategies that include a variety of challenging and engaging activities.
- High-performing middle schools are developmentally responsive to the unique needs of the middle school-aged student. The school creates a personalized environment, provides access to comprehensive services, encourages alliances with families and promotes the development of citizenship skills.
- High-performing middle schools are socially equitable. Every student is provided with high-quality teachers, resources, learning opportunities and support systems.
- High-performing middle schools incorporate organizational structures that support these philosophies including school improvement planning, interdisciplinary teaming, use of data, culturally responsive instruction, exploratory curriculum offerings, grade level houses and places where time is allocated and scheduled to meet these goals.
Celebrations will take place at each school at a future date. All five schools will be recognized at the National Schools to Watch Conference in Crystal City in June and at the Virginia Middle School Association Conference in October.
Thirteen middle schools in Loudoun County now have earned this designation. Loudoun County has more schools with this distinction than any other school division in the nation. Other middle schools in Loudoun County that have received this award are Blue Ridge, Eagle Ridge, Farmwell Station, Harmony, Harper Park, River Bend, Sterling and Stone Hill.