National Forum To Accelerate Middle Grades Reform

COVID-19 Update

Dear National Forum members and STW School Leaders, 


In this quickly changing and unsettling time, we at the National Forum are paying close attention to developments around Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our schools, communities, and families. We are concerned, as are you, and know that you as educators and middle-grades leaders are having to make difficult decisions in order to keep our young adolescent students and their families safe and well. We understand that your stress is tremendous and we applaud your efforts and extend our heartfelt thanks to you for keeping our students at the forefront of your decisions. 


As you have seen, many events and professional development opportunities have had to be cancelled due to the effects of COVID-19. The Schools to Watch Conference is still three months away, so at this time, we are not cancelling the conference and are continuing to move forward with providing an experience for you and your staff that will not only celebrate your accomplishments, but also give you the opportunity to share best practices and network with other like-minded educators. We know that it's hard to plan for June in the midst of the crisis that we find ourselves in, but our hope is that by June we will be able to move forward with our plans and that you will be able to join us in Washington, DC.


In an effort to help and support you, we will be extending some deadlines related to the STW Conference. 


School Information Form (for our 2020 STW schools): Extended to Friday, April 3 

School Profile Form (for our 2020 STW schools): Extended to Friday, April 10 

STW Conference Registration: Extended to Friday, June 5 


Again, at this time, the STW Conference remains unchanged and we are moving forward with plans for a spectacular event. However, we are taking COVID-19 very seriously and are watching developments carefully in order to know how best to proceed in the coming months. We will continue to keep you updated through emails and our website. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me ( or call (217.469.6299). We know how important opportunities for professional learning are for you and we will make every effort to ensure that the 2020 STW Conference is the best one yet. To register, visit . 


On a personal note, I have always been grateful to each of you for your dedication to our young adolescent students, but now, in the face of having my middle school son home for the next few weeks and trying to carry on educational opportunities with him, I am reminded how truly amazing you are. Thank you for carrying the banner high for middle-grades and for your outstanding commitment. 


As always, we will keep up our important work on behalf of the middle-grades and young adolescents. We look forward to continuing our work with you in the coming days. Please protect yourselves and stay safe!


Ericka Uskali and the National Forum Board of Directors

The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform

The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is an alliance of educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations committed to promoting academic performance and healthy development of young adolescents. In order to prepare students to be lifelong learners ready for college, career, and citizenship, the National Forum seeks to make every middle-grade school academically excellent, responsive to the developmental needs and interests of young adolescents, and socially equitable. 


To accomplish its goal of improved academic and developmental outcomes for all students in the middle grades, the Forum identifies and disseminates best practices, articulates and promotes effective policies, recognizes and develops enlightened leadership, and informs and engages the public.


​The National Forum, through its Schools to Watch® (STW) program, has developed criteria for identifying high-performing middle-grades schools, created tools to help schools use the criteria, expanded the program to 18 states, and selected and honored 465 successful schools across the country during the Annual STW Conference.



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PO Box 224, Savoy, IL 61874

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Shawna Cremeens - 217.766.2022