Stuck in the Middle

As students begin their adolescent years, middle school can be a time of monumental change. Yet, too often, these schools seem to fail their pupils. Here, we spotlight the local middle schools that are making the grade, and examine why others are not.

August 2012

Middle Schools of Distinction

The tween years can be an ordeal for everyone involved, but these public institutions are doing the best job of ensuring their students’ success.

Currently, the Colorado Growth Model provides the most reliable way to assess which public schools are helping their students thrive today. (The key word here is “public”; private schools’ wide variety of philosophies, benchmarks, and policies about sharing, or not sharing, information makes doing an objective evaluation nearly impossible.) The Growth Model primarily measures what percentage of a school’s kids are meeting their performance benchmarks at each grade level and how much the school is helping their learning improve year over year. A school with a growth number of 50 is performing at the expected rate; those below 50 are struggling to keep pace, and the ones above 50 are excelling. Schools with growth numbers above 60 or 70 in any category are doing an extraordinary job getting their students to develop their skills. Based on this model, we’ve identified the top 18 public middle schools in the metro area.