At the annual National Forum Schools to Watch Conference held each year in Washington, D.C. outstanding middle schools from throughout the country gather to share best practice, meet with legislators and receive recognition for their commendable work with middle school students.

At the 2019 Conference, participants learned more about reaching students, differentiated grading practices, school climate and culture, and the middle school restorative framework. Educational thought leaders Gerry Brooks, Rick Wormeli and William Martinez led sessions designed to inform and inspire those who work with middle level learners. Illinois Horizon Schools to Watch shared more about their designation and their school practices with other middle level educators.

Illinois school leaders also had the opportunity to meet with lawmakers to advocate for middle school and discuss policy, programs and funding.

The week culminated in an awards ceremony to recognize those schools who met the criteria for the prestigious Schools to Watch designation. Ten Illinois middle schools were among those recognized: Hadley Junior High, Century Junior High, Cooper Middle School, Westmont Junior High, Arthur Libby Middle School, Evergreen Academy, Little Village Academy, Sam Rotolo Middle School, and Thayer Hill Middle School.

The Association of Illinois Middle Grade Schools (AIMS) supports Illinois Horizon Schools to Watch. AIMS is currently accepting applications for 2020 Schools to Watch designation. Learn more on our website.