Memorial JHS Named a School to Watch

School Photo
The New York State Education Department has designated Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School as a 2017 Essential Elements: School to Watch (EE:STW). Only four other schools across New York have been awarded this title. Last year, Memorial was named a Rising Schools to Watch, and now has advanced to the highest level of honor through the initiative.  

Memorial earned this recognition by incorporating seven essential elements identified by the EE:STW program into its rubric. The entire staff played a part in the building’s full adoption of this middle school philosophy. 

Last year, educators from the Essential Elements: Schools to Watch leadership team visited Memorial to evaluate the building as a potential School to Watch, and this year, followed up to see how their recommendations were met. 
 Based on the group’s feedback, Memorial included an advisory program for seventh- and eighth-graders in which students meet in small groups with staff advisors on a monthly basis to discuss topics ranging from organizational skills and study techniques to anti-bullying and self-respect. Another new development was the expansion of academic teams from seventh-grade to eighth-grade. Students are assigned to teams of teachers who meet daily to provide consistency and address the needs of each learner. 

Now, as a “School to Watch,” Memorial is considered a model middle school for others to observe. 

“It is an acknowledgment of all the hard work our staff members have been doing for students,” said Memorial Junior High School Principal Bret Strauss. “It also shows our commitment to reflection and growth for the benefit of our students."

According to the State Education Department, EE:STW recognizes schools that demonstrate continuous improvement and excel in the following four domains; academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structure. The initiative is overseen by the New York State Department of Education, the New York State Middle School Association and the Statewide Network of Middle Level Liaisons.