Turning Points: Transforming Middle Schools

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A national design for middle school change, based on recommendations from the influential 1989 report by the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development.

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Return to the main story, “A Feast of Offerings”

Coordinated by the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston. Approved this year by New American Schools, the private, nonprofit corporation in Arlington, Va., that promotes whole-school-reform models, as its first middle school design.

The network now has 50 schools. They agree to form leadership teams to guide the change process and work closely with coaches from the collaborative, who provide 25 to 35 days of technical assistance and professional development each school year. Schools administer self-study surveys every other year, which are processed by the University of Illinois' Center for Prevention Research and Development.

Schools participate in three meetings annually with others in the Turning Points network, in addition to summer institutes for both program leaders and the entire faculty.

Center for Collaborative Education
1135 Tremont St.Boston, MA 02120
(617) 421- 0134

Key Principles:

  • Creation of small, caring communities for learning.
  • Instruction in a rigorous core academic program.
  • Success for all students through effective instruction and school structures.
  • Empowerment of teachers and administrators to make decisions.
  • Staffing of middle-grades schools with teachers who are prepared for teaching young adolescents.
  • Improvement of students' academic performance through the development of character, creativity, and health.
  • Re-engagement of families in the education of young adolescents.
  • Connections between schools and their communities.

Key Practices:

  • Improvement of teaching, learning, and assessment for all students.
  • Development of leadership capacity and a collaborative professional culture.
  • Application of data- based inquiry and decisionmaking.
  • Creation of a school culture that supports high achievement and personal development.
  • Links with like- minded schools.
  • Development of district capacity to support change.

Vol. 20, Issue 5, Page 34

Published in Print: October 4, 2000, as Turning Points: Transforming Middle Schools
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