Deer Lakes Middle School was one of three exemplary Middle Schools in Pennsylvania to be newly recognized in 2022 as a PA Don Eichhorn Schools: “Schools to Watch,” which is part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.
“I have to give a huge thank you to our staff and the Deer Lakes community for their commitment to fostering a positive culture and environment for our students to learn in,” DLMS principal Mr. David Campos said. “My biggest thank you is to our students for their commitment to education and learning and growing each day.”
In partnership with the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education (PAMLE), Duquesne University, Edinboro University, Kutztown University, and the Horace Mann Service Corporation, The Pennsylvania “Schools to Watch” leadership team announced that the following three schools have met the strict STW criteria and have been recognized for the first time:
Chartiers Valley Middle School – Bridgeville, PA
Deer Lakes Middle School – Cheswick, PA
Wendover Middle School – Greensburg, PA
“We are thrilled to be recognized,” DLMS assistant principal Dr. Samantha Abate said. “We are incredibly proud of what our entire school community has accomplished.”
Seven more schools earned re-designation. Each school will be recognized at the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Educations State Conference on February 25, 26 & 27, 2023, at the Crowne Plaza in King of Prussia. The schools will also be recognized nationally with all the other recognized STW schools across the country in Washington D.C. at the National Forum’s National Schools to Watch Conference on June 22-24 2023. Deer Lakes Middle School will have a celebration in either May or June of 2023.
“Having been a Middle School principal in my career for 10 years, I am beyond proud of this accomplishment,” DLSD Superintendent Dr. Janell Logue-Belden said. “There has been so much positive development at the middle school. I am glad they are being recognized with this special award.”
Pennsylvania STW leaders selected each school for its Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity and Organizational Structures and Processes. In addition, each school has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.
“We congratulate these schools for being places that do great things for all of their students,” Pennsylvania STW Director Bruce Vosburgh said. “These schools demonstrate that high-performing middle grades schools are places that focus on academic growth and achievement. They are also places that recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensure that every child has access to a challenging, high-quality education. These schools have proven that it is possible to overcome barriers to achieving excellence, and any middle-level school in any state can truly learn from their examples.”
The Schools to Watch selection process is based on a written application that required schools to show how they met criteria developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by a state team, which 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, they must demonstrate progress on specific goals in order to be re-designated. The re-designation process is based on the schools continued growth since their last STW recognition.