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Schools to Watch


The Schools to Watch Program® was designed by the National Forum. Criteria established by the National Forum are used as the basis for the Forum’s Schools to Watch Program, which focuses on school improvement efforts characterized by a continuous trajectory toward success.

2024 STW Applications

Applications are normally due in the Fall, but you can contact your State Director for specific due dates for each state.


Steps to becoming designated as a Schools to Watch® 


1. Contact us to let us know you would like to apply to become a School to Watch®

2. We will contact your State Director who will follow-up with you and indicate where you can access your state’s application and instructions.

3. The program follows the Schools to Watch Rubric which is to be completed as part of the application process. Information on how to access that rubric is explained in the application instructions you will receive. 


As an alternative, you may contact your State Director. Their contact information appears on the State Pages. If your state does not currently have a State Director, we will process your application through our National STW Committee. If you are interested in becoming a State Director (or know someone who might be interested), please contact us.

Not quite ready to become a Schools to Watch®? Use the Rubric for a Self-Study


The rubric is here to share with your administration and faculty if you should want to use it as a self-improvement tool without applying for recognition at this time.

The Schools to Watch self-study rating rubric is available as a package with information about the rubric and how to use the tool to support growth in your school. The cost of the rubric toolkit is $50 and you can order it in our online store


Sharing and completing the “hard copy” rubric is a great way for the administration and faculty to self-reflect on the implementation of best practices in your middle school or middle-level program.  Use the rubric tool and the results for the development of your own continuous improvement plan. Evaluate the results, revise your improvement plan, and implement changes. When you feel you have developed a trajectory of continuous improvement, consider applying for Schools to Watch® recognition. Again, a copy of the rubric is available from your State Director and they are happy to advise you on the process.


You can also join us in Washington, D.C., June 22-24, 2023 for the National STW Conference, and learn about the process from those who have done it before!

Advancing excellence in the middle grades

Our Mission


Applications are normally due in the Fall, but you can contact your State Director for specific due dates for each state.

Applications for 2024 are coming soon!



All Schools to Watch are honored at the National STW Conference in June in Washington, D.C.

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