Beaty again named to Schools to Watch list | News, Sports, Jobs

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Students leave the cafeteria and head to class at the end of lunch period Thursday at Beatty-Warren Middle School. A school success sign hangs near the main entrance.

Nine Years and Beaty-Warren Middle School is still worth watching.

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education announced that Beaty was on its list of schools to watch for the fourth time.

Schools-to-Watch was launched in 1999 to identify and recognize middle school schools that meet or exceed a list of 37 research-based criteria, according to a statement from the National Forum to Accelerate Middle School Reform.

Beaty is one of 14 schools to be renamed – one of three for a fourth three-year term.

“Being redesignated is an honor to know that our approach (education, curriculum, extracurricular activities, and student engagement) is recognized by external evaluators as an exemplary model for other colleges across the state and country,” Principal Shannon Yeager said. “I am also very honored to continue to lead Beaty on the path to excellence that was started by Ms. Rhonda Decker when Beaty was first named a School to Watch in 2011.”

“Leaders of PA schools to watch selected each school for its academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structures and processes,” according to the ad. “In addition, each school has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to drive continuous improvement.”

Schools like Beaty submit a written application outlining how they meet the criteria developed by the National Forum.

“Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by members of the state team, who observed classrooms, interviewed administrators, teachers, students and parents, and reviewed data from success, suspension rates, course quality and student work”, according to the ad.

“Beaty deserves this award because we do great things at Beaty,” Eighth-grade science teacher Kari Sullivan said.

“We commend these schools for being places that do great things for all of their students,” PA Schools One To Watch principal Bruce Vosburgh said. “These schools demonstrate that high-performing middle schools are places that focus on academic growth and achievement. They are also places that recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all their students and ensuring that every child has access to a stimulating, high-quality education.

“This award is really special because I am part of a building that strives for excellence”, said fifth-grade ELA teacher Christine Samonsky. “I also really like the opportunities that are offered to our students.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to be employed at a designated PA Watch School,” said seventh-grade social studies teacher Joe Errett. “We work hard every day to give every student the best possible experience and to make their middle school years as memorable as possible.”

“Schools are recognized for a period of three years, and at the end of three years they must demonstrate progress on specific goals in order to be redesignated,” according to the ad. “Unlike the Blue Ribbon recognition program, ‘Schools to Watch’ requires schools to not only identify their strengths, but also focus on areas of continuous improvement; thus the new three-year designation. The redesignation process is based on the schools’ continued growth since their last STW recognition.

“I feel honored to be part of a school community designated as one of the best schools in the state,” Gifted support teacher Meggi Brown said.

The team recognized the schools’ efforts throughout the pandemic, in addition to their ongoing work.

“Furthermore, each of these schools has been successful in providing quality education to their students either through a hybrid, total virtual or in-person model over the past few years,” Vosburgh said. “These schools have proven that it is possible to overcome barriers to excellence, and any middle school in any state can truly learn from their examples.”

“I am honored to be part of this faculty and to be part of all the great changes that have taken place at Beaty,” Reading specialist Wendy Carrington said. “It was an honor to be recognized for all of our hard work, especially through COVID.”

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