ASTON, PA—Northley Middle School has been re-designated as a Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn School to Watch (PA STW) by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Northley originally received this designation in 2014 and was up for a re-evaluation. Northley will hold this title for another three years. The Pennsylvania Schools to Watch organization annually recognizes a small number of diverse, high-performing, growth-oriented middle schools that demonstrate academic excellence, developmental responsiveness to the unique challenges of early adolescence, social equity, and school structures and processes that support and sustain the path to excellence. A Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn School is a school that has made marked progress in meeting all of the nationally-endorsed criteria for high-performing middle schools, including measurable gains in the academic achievement of all students over time.
"Being re-designated as a School To Watch is well deserved recognition for the students, the staff, and the community," stated Mr. L.J. Blair, Northley Principal. It recognizes our efforts to meet the district’s goal of Excellence in Education. We are focused on Encouraging and Empowering every student to Excel through academics, the arts, athletics, and activities. Without the contributions from the entire school and local community this distinction would not have been attained."
Upon Northley’s initial designation, in addition to rave reviews and a list of strengths in many areas, the Schools to Watch committee gave Northley a list of considerations to implement. Northley took those considerations and hit the ground running, building on their already strong curriculum and programs such as PBS to continue to make a difference in the lives of their students.
Northley was notified in October that it was a candidate for this national recognition once again. As part of the evaluation process, a group of educators visited Northley to observe, first-hand, how the school functions on a daily basis. During their observation, they noted several areas where Northley was exceeding expectations. They pointed out the excellent and effective reward programs Northley has in place for its students. They commended Northley’s communication throughout the building and with the community. They noted that the atmosphere is very friendly and strong, and that positive energy permeates the building. The group also appreciated the extensive attention paid to literacy and saw that students were actively engaged in reading throughout the day in multiple settings. They also noted that there is quality professional development offered regularly on campus.
Northley Middle School joins a very select group of only 34 schools in Pennsylvania, and 400 around the nation, that have been named Schools to Watch this year. As a 2017 School to Watch site, schools throughout Pennsylvania will have an opportunity to visit Northley and experience firsthand what a high performing middle grade school is like while working daily on its' trajectory towards success.
A formal announcement of the recognition will take place in February at the Pennsylvania Association of Middle Level Educators conference in State College, PA. Northley Middle School will again be recognized at the National Schools to Watch Conference held in Washington, D.C. on June 24, 2017.
“I was thrilled to hear the news that Northley Middle School has been re-designated as a School To Watch.” said Superintendent Dr. George Steinhoff. “Having a group of expert reviewers from outside of the district attest to the fine environment at Northley affirms the everyday work of the staff and the students there. Northley is a wonderful place to learn and the designation as a School To Watch is certainly deserved.”