For the second time since 2012, Kennett Middle School was recognized by the Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn Schools: Schools to Watch program.
The Pennsylvania Schools to Watch program 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. The middle school joins a very select cadre of 31 schools in Pennsylvania and more than 370 schools across the country that have earned the distinction of being Schools to Watch; only four others are located in the Delaware Valley Region.
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 the following:
- Academic Excellence. High-performing schools with middle grades are academically excellent. They challenge all students to use their minds well.
- Developmental Responsiveness. High-performing schools with middle grades are sensitive to the unique developmental challenges of early adolescence.
- Social Equity. High-performing schools with middle grades are socially equitable, democratic, and fair. They provide every student with high-quality teachers, resources, learning opportunities, and support. They keep positive options open for all students.
- Organizational Structures and Processes. High-performing schools with middle grades are learning organizations that establish norms, structures, and organizational arrangements to support and sustain their trajectory toward excellence.
As part of the evaluation process, a group of educators visited Kennett Middle School to observe, firsthand, how the school functions on a daily basis. During their observation, they noted several areas where Kennett was exceeding expectations, including the following:
- Daily grade level team meetings effectively address student needs and challenges.
- The entire staff knows and appreciates the complexities of each student’s life and makes extensive efforts to know each student well as early in the year as possible.
- Faculty should be commended for making learning meaningful and relevant by tapping into the diversity with their school community.
- Implementing the LEAD program to provide every middle school student with an advocate.
Representatives from Kennett Middle School attended the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education Professional Development Institute. At this conference, not only was the school officially announced and recognized, Kennett Middle School’s representatives presented highlights of the school’s programs.
The middle school was also recognized in Washington, D.C., at the National Schools to Watch Conference.
Since 1999, the Schools to Watch program has recognized more than 380 schools in 19 states, including 35 schools in Pennsylvania. A middle school that is designated as a School to Watch retains that honor for three years and must reapply, as Kennett Middle School did.