The Middle Level Takes Center Stage | Chalkboard Project

The Middle Level Takes Center Stage

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Steve Nelson

The Oregon Middle Level Association is excited to announce that Oregon is now an official “Schools to Watch” state. The Schools to Watch (STW) initiative, sponsored by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, is an effort to ensure that young adolescents are prepared to be lifelong learners ready for college, career and citizenship. The STW initiative accomplishes its goal by identifying high-performing middle-grades schools that are on a solid upward trajectory in regard to academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational effectiveness. Over the last ten years hundreds of middle-grades schools throughout the country have been designated as “Schools to Watch” because of their commitment to these STW core beliefs.

Now it’s Oregon’s turn to recognize the truly exceptional middle-grades schools we have in our state, providing an opportunity for all middle-grades schools to assess their progress and to learn from one another. In order to do this, the Oregon Middle Level Association needs your help! We are currently forming a statewide steering committee to direct the “Schools to Watch” Initiative in Oregon. We are looking for educators, community members, and business leaders who are interested in helping us to identify and promote the best of middle-grades education in Oregon. If you are interested in learning more about this truly incredible opportunity please contact one of the Oregon Co-Directors of the Schools to Watch Program (Steve Nelson, or Jane Evans,

In order for our Oregon graduates to be ready for college, career and citizenship our schools need to be providing students with the best possible education. At the middle-grades level the “Schools to Watch” initiative is our best opportunity to recognize excellence and to provide all middle-grades schools in Oregon with exemplary models to learn from and network with. For more information on the national “Schools to Watch” initiative please visit To get involved in the Oregon chapter please contact one of the co-directors listed above. Oregon’s young adolescents are an investment worthy of our time and attention. Please consider getting involved today!


Steve Nelson is co-director of the Oregon Schools to Watch Program. Mr. Nelson is also the principal of Leslie Middle School in Salem, Oregon and the President of the Oregon Middle Level Association. He has worked in the field of education for 26 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in the Dayton School District, Salem-Keizer School District and at the American School in Puebla, Mexico.

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