Mansfield ISD Magazine Spring 2019 | Page 17

SCHOOLS TO WATCH: Danny Jones Middle School caters to students in the seventh and eighth grade. Students are learning to identify the different part of the cell in their science class. Principal Travis Moore pictured with staff members. DANNY JONES MS | Danny Jones Middle School has been named a Texas School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). Schools to Watch is an initiative that identifies high-performing middle schools across the United States. According to state leaders, Jones Middle School was selected for its academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational structure and processes. Officials also noted the school’s strong leadership and commitment to continuous improvement. “It’s very similar to a National Blue Ribbon Award, but it’s primarily for middle schools,” said Principal Travis Moore. “There are only about 30 Schools to Watch, and there are over 2,000 middle schools in Texas, so this is a great honor.” The Schools to Watch selection process begins with a written application that requires schools to show how they meet criteria. Schools that appear to meet the criteria are then visited by state teams. The team observes classrooms and instruction, interviews students and staff and analyzes various data points before making a final decision. “Danny Jones Middle School is a place that recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of all students and ensures that every child has access to a challenging high-quality education,” said Billy Pringle, state director for Schools to Watch in Texas. “This school has demonstrated that a high- performing middle school is a place that focuses on academic growth and achievement.” Qualifying campuses are recognized as Schools to Watch for a three-year period. At the end of three years, they must demonstrate progress on specific goals in order to be re-designated. Schools to Watch began as a national program in 1999 to identify middle-grade schools across the country that were meeting or exceeding 37 research-based criteria developed by the National Forum. There are now 17 states that have trained Schools to Watch teams with more than 480 schools recognized across the country. | 17