Submitted Lewisburg principal Josh Matthews and Auburn principal David Ward represented Logan County at the 14th annual Schools to Watch conference in Washington D.C. where the district was given an award for being one of only 17 in the country to have all its schools on the Schools to Watch list.

Submitted

Lewisburg principal Josh Matthews and Auburn principal David Ward represented Logan County at the 14th annual Schools to Watch conference in Washington D.C. where the district was given an award for being one of only 17 in the country to have all its schools on the Schools to Watch list.

Logan County schools was recently honored as the only district in Kentucky and one of only 17 in the country to have all of its middle schools as a member of the prestigious "Schools to Watch" certification group.

Earlier this year, Lewisburg Middle School was named as a "School to Watch" which gave Logan County all five of its schools on that list.

"That demonstrates the hard work of our staffs at each of our schools have put in," Logan County schools superintendent Paul Mullins said. "They are dedicated to doing what's best for our students and I am extremely proud of each of them."

Representatives from the schools recently traveled to Washington D.C. to take part in a ceremony honoring the district. Among those going were David Ward, principal of Auburn -- the first Logan County school to be named a "School to Watch" -- and Lewisburg principal Josh Matthews.

"To be recognized at a state level is always a great honor, but when you are recognized nationally - that takes it to a whole other level," Mullins said. "I'd be remiss without also thanking our dedicated school board for their part in this. They set this all in motion by making it a goal for Logan County schools some time back. I also need to thank (former superintendent) Mr. Kemp, who got the ball rolling on this as well."

Fran Salyers, co-director of the Kentucky Schools to Watch program, commented "The staff has focused on building caring, nurturing relationships with students and providing each student with a safe learning environment. A program has been developed within the school to address the specific developmental and academic needs of their middle grades students. Our STW visit team was very impressed with all aspects of the school and are excited to name them a Kentucky School to Watch."

Selection of schools is based on a written application that requires schools to show how they meet 37 criteria developed by the National Forum. Schools that appear to meet the criteria are then visited by a team of trained reviewers who observe classrooms; interview administrators, teachers, students, and parents; and look at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work. Schools are recognized for a three-year period, and at the end of three years must repeat the process and show growth in order to be re-designated.

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"The Schools to Watch program has shown that schools can meet high academic expectations while preserving a commitment to healthy development and equity for all students," said Dr. Ericka Uskali, National Forum executive director. "The Schools to Watch are indeed special; they make education so exciting that students and teachers don't want to miss a day. These schools have proven that it is possible to overcome barriers to achieving excellence, and any middle-level school in any state can truly learn from their examples," Uskali said.

Launched in 1999, Schools to Watch began as a national program to identify middle-grades schools across the country that were meeting or exceeding the 37 criteria developed by the National Forum. The National Forum website (http://www.schoolstowatch.org) features profiles of the designated schools, as well as detailed information about the selection criteria used in the recognition program. In 2002, the Forum began working with states to replicate the Schools to Watch program as a way to introduce the Forum's criteria for high-performance and to identify middle grades schools that meet or exceed that criteria. Kentucky joined the program in 2003 and the state program is coordinated through the Kentucky Middle School Association. More information is available on the Kentucky website, www.kmsaonline.com/schools-to-watch.html