Schools To Watch

Schools to Watch Rubric

The Schools To Watch Program® is a copyright protected program of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Criteria established by the National Forum is used as the basis for the Forum’s Schools To Watch Program, which focuses on school improvement efforts characterized by a continuous trajectory toward success.

The following Self Study and Rating Rubric is now available in an electronic format for any school to use as a school improvement tool. To complete the electronic format please contact The 2016-2017 price is $300.  The rubric is still available for downloading free of charge. No adaptations to this self-study and rubric may be used without written permission from the Schools To Watch Committee and Board of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform.  The rubric will take 20-25 minutes to complete.

This is a continuing-improvement tool as well as a mandatory self-rating for schools interested in applying for a state Schools To Watch designation. Schools applying for a STW state designation should be consistently averaging scores between 3.4 and 4.0 in all sections and components.

The rubric is divided into four domains: Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity, and Organizational Support and Processes. Under each domain there is general criteria followed by concrete, expected examples of excellence. Self-rate each general and detailed component. Your self-ratings should reflect your perceptions for your whole school, not for your specific classroom, grade level, or subject. The ultimate goal is to be consistently excellent and rate a well-evidenced score point 4 in every component (general and detail) of every section.  Even when that ultimate goal is reached, a true high performing middle school will continue to seek ways to improve as new challenges arise.

A 4 in any general and detail component means the practice is highly and completely implemented, systemic, coherent in every classroom, by every teacher, across the school.
A 3 in any general and detail component means that there is a high degree or maturing quality of implementation that is systemic,  but it may not be coherent or of the highest quality in every classroom and by every teacher, but certainly by most, 75 percent or better.
A 2 in any general and detail component means that there is a mixed, fair, immature quality of implementation.  A 2 also means that practices may include many teachers but not the majority. The program may be too new to have realized accountable results or to be evaluated as effective.
A 1 in any general and detail component means that the practice may just have gotten started, (very immature), or is only practiced by a handful of practitioners.