Key Links for Middle School Reform

1. MiddleWeb



MiddleWeb provides a wealth of resources for schools, districts, educators, parents, and public school advocates working to raise achievement for all students in the middle grades.

In addition to MiddleWeb's large collection of reform-oriented materials, this site includes hundreds of articles and links about curriculum, teaching strategies, teacher professional development, parent involvement, classroom assessment, and much more. Visit our site map or try our search!

2. Schools to Watch

"Schools to Watch" is an initiative launched by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in 1999. The National Forum is an alliance of more than 60 educators, researchers, and officers of national associations and foundations dedicated to improving schools for young adolescents across the country.

Through the Schools to Watch initiative, the National Forum identified four schools across the United States that were well on their way to meeting the Forum's criteria for high performance. Forum members believe that three things are true of high-performing middle-grades schools.

3. National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform

The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is an alliance of over 60 educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations committed to promoting the academic performance and healthy development of young adolescents. The Forum developed in 1997 out of a sense of urgency that middle-grades school improvement had stalled, amid a flurry of descending test scores, increasing reports of school violence, and heated debates about the nature and purpose of middle-grades education. All agreed that nothing short of collective and concerted action could result in high-performing middle-grades schools and students.

Over the past six years, the Forum has flourished, successfully reframing the national discourse about middle-grades education. Major organizations, foundations, and others of influence have articulated and affirmed that schools do not have to choose between equity and excellence, or between a healthy school climate and a strong academic program.

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. With funding from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Forum has launched several key initiatives.

See especially Comprehensive School Reform Models at

4. Turning Points

Turning Points is a comprehensive education reform model that focuses on improving student learning. Recognizing the need to both strengthen the academic core of middle schools and establish caring, supportive environments that value all young adolescents, Turning Points helps middle schools undergo dramatic change.

By working with Turning Points, middle school teachers are coached in tested, effective instructional methods geared specifically for the middle-level learner. Students and teachers are organized in new ways. Students are engaged in planning and managing their own learning. The school schedule may be redesigned. Professional development operates differently. New partnerships between the school and the community are created. Schools participate in a local, regional and national network of schools which helps them develop all facets of their schools. All of these efforts are focused squarely on improving learning, teaching, and assessment. Turning Points regional centers are listed at

5. Talent Development Middle School

The Talent Development Middle School is a whole school reform model specifically designed for urban middle schools which serve high poverty populations.