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Wayside Middle School Earns National Distinction

A teacher pointes to multi colored liquidWayside Middle School has been designated a Texas School to Watch (STW) as part of a national recognition program by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). Wayside joins around only 60 other campuses across Texas with this distinction and honor.  

Wayside will be recognized in Austin at the Making Middle School Matter Symposium hosted by TASSP on March 3-5, 2024. They will be recognized nationally with all the other recognized STW schools from across the country in Washington, DC at the National Forum of Schools to Watch Conference on June 20-22, 2024.

“Wayside Middle School is honored to receive this national distinction,” said Dr. Khayla Sewell-Bernard, Wayside Middle School Principal. “Congratulations to our teachers, staff, students and families. It is their commitment in setting the standard, preparing the person and achieving excellence that made this possible.” 

State leaders selected Wayside for the school's Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Organizational Structure and Processes. 

In addition, they noted that Wayside has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction and a commitment to assessment and A student does a math equation on the white boardaccountability to bring about continuous improvement.   

Leticia Menchaca, State Director for Schools to Watch in Texas and TASSP Associate Executive Director for Middle-Level Services, said, “We congratulate Principal Dr. Khayla Sewell-Bernard and her staff, students and parents for being a campus that does great things for all their students. This school has demonstrated that a high-performing middle school is a place that focuses on academic growth and achievement. Wayside 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.”

The STW selection process is based on a written application that requires schools to show how they met criteria developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by state teams, which observed classrooms, interviewed administrators, teachers, students and parents, and looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons and student work.  

Students play trumpets“For 60 years, Wayside Middle School has served the Eagle Moutain-Saginaw community. Our legacy is characterized by our commitment to academics, to athletics, to fine arts and to the development and achievement of our students in and out of the classroom,” Sewell-Bernard said. “We have a proud history at Wayside, and our story is still being written.”

Schools are recognized with the STW designation for a three-year period. At the end of three years, they must demonstrate progress on specific goals to be re-designated.  Unlike the Blue-Ribbon recognition program, “Schools to Watch” requires schools to not just identify strengths, but to also focus on areas of continuous improvement; thus, the three-year re-designation.

Launched in 1999, STW began as a national program to identify middle-grades schools across the country that were meeting or exceeding 37 researched based criteria developed by the National Forum.  The Forum developed a web site that features online tours of schools, as well as detailed information about selection criteria used in the recognition program.A student writes on a white board.

“We are pleased that our Schools to Watch program has shown that schools can meet high academic expectations while preserving a commitment to healthy development for all students,” said Cathy Perry, National Forum Executive Director. “These Schools to Watch are indeed special; they make education so exciting that students and teachers don’t want to miss a day. These schools have proven that it is possible to overcome barriers in achieving excellence, and any middle-level school in any state can truly learn from their examples,” Perry said.

We are #ɫproud of the students and staff at Wayside Middle School for earning this well deserved nationl recognition.