South Pointe Named California 2016 ‘School to Watch’

By Kelli Gile

Photo Courtesy of WVUSD South Pointe 8th Graders Enjoy STEM activities

Photo Courtesy of WVUSD
South Pointe 8th Graders Enjoy STEM activities

DIAMOND BARSouth Pointe Middle School has been designated as a model middle school in the 2015-16 Schools to Watch–Taking Center Stage program.

A total of 11 high-performing middle schools in California will receive this year’s award for academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, and social equity.

South Pointe is now among a select cadre of 78 schools in the state and more than 450 around the nation that are Schools to Watch.

“We are thrilled to have received this recognition,” said Principal Susan Arzola. “Our school community has worked very hard to create an exciting and challenging middle school program that inspires students to achieve their potential and look to their future!”

Schools to Watch, which are recognized at both the state and national level, become examples for middle schools across the country.  South Pointe becomes the first school in Walnut Valley USD to receive the prestigious award.

“South Pointe is committed to providing students with a strong academic foundation to foster success as they move toward high school, college, and careers,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

On Thursday, February 18 at 8:00 a.m., students, staff, administrators, board members, and community members will celebrate the selection as one of California’s newest Schools to Watch in the school’s multipurpose room.

South Pointe prepares students to be globally competitive through the integration of science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM).  “We are proudly preparing the next generation of leaders,” added Arzola.

All of California’s Model Schools will also be formally recognized in Sacramento and Washington D.C.  The schools will have an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments and network with other middle grades educators from around the state.

South Pointe applied for the designation and was chosen among schools from across the nation.  In order to become a School to Watch, applicants must have met or exceeded the Academic Performance Index (API) school-wide growth target for three of the previous five years.  School administrators must conduct a self-study evaluation and complete an extensive narrative application.  Each site is then reviewed by a team of middle grades experts. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years.

The California Department of Education and the California League of Middle Schools are the lead agencies in the program, with the support of the California Middle Grades Alliance, a collaborative dedicated to providing policy assistance and encouragement for California’s 1.5 million middle grades students.

California’s Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage program uses a competitive, rigorous review process to identify high performing, high impact middle schools so that all middle schools may have models of real-world success