Press Release: Schools to Watch
Palo Alto, CA— In March and June 2023, Ellen Fletcher Middle is being honored as a California and national School to Watch. Following a detailed application process, classroom visits by the California League of Schools committee members, and interviews with school staff, community residents, district staff, and Board members, this award deems Fletcher a “model and mentor” for middle grades and educators.
Assistant Superintendent Guillermo Lopez expresses that “Campus and community efforts have really expanded understanding across the planned sustainability-themed school with a choice option. This program really strengthened both Fletcher Middle and its chance for the award.” Fletcher’s sustainability efforts not only had community input, but they also involved student response. Principal Melissa Howell believes the school’s vision supports the alignment of themes and lessons across grade levels while partnering and fostering relationships with the City of Palo Alto and Stanford University to make sustainability a continued priority.
Other attributes making Fletcher Middle outstanding include the unique use of: student time, bell schedule, promotion of best practices for student achievement, teacher collaboration and support for student interventions and mastery, both co-teaching and team-teaching models, schoolwide implementation of social-emotional lessons (SEL) during PRIME, as well as mental health supports (Wellness Center). “This honor reemphasizes Fletcher’s focus on middle school needs and the vital opportunities we provide our students to grow,” states Jose Sanchez, assistant principal.
Schools to Watch honors are granted for a three-year time frame across an intercommunity of more than 600 schools in 17 states, 30 of which are being saluted for the first time. Howell adds, “Fletcher’s parent community is passionate, giving, and supportive of the work we do at the school. They want to be an active part of the school, and we want them to feel welcomed and appreciated. We have a committed staff who focus on fostering positive relationships with students…social, emotional, and academic achievements are priorities.”
The selected schools actively place value on the need to: advance academic excellence, demonstrate sensitivity to developmental challenges, embrace social equity and fairness, and strengthen learning through organizational structures and processes.