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MIT Academy Awarded National "Schools to Watch" Status

Vallejo Middle School Mare Island Technology Academy Awarded National “Schools to Watch / Taking Center Stage” Model School Status

The California League of Schools (CLS), State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the California Middle Grades Alliance this week announced that 11 high-performing California middle schools have been newly designated as model middle grades schools in the 2016–17 Schools to Watch™ / Taking Center Stage program, which includes Vallejo’s charter middle school Mare Island Technology Academy.

The 11 schools, along with 19 schools that retained their designation for another 3-year period, collectively represent less than 1% of all California middle schools. They are notable for being high-performing model schools that demonstrate academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents, and social equity. These schools host visitors from California and around the world who are looking to emulate practices that they can use to improve their middle grades schools and close the achievement gap. 

To earn this designation, schools must complete an extensive application that is reviewed by middle grades experts. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years. 

"We congratulate them for their efforts to exceed challenging goals, narrow the achieve-ment gap, and set their students on a solid path toward high school and future success" said Dr. Irvin Howard, Co-Director of the Schools to Watch program.

“This is a tremendous honor for Mare Island Technology Academy and a testament to our parent, staff, and student community” said Mare Island Technology Academy Director Matt Smith. “It also makes a perfect complement to MIT High School, which for two years running has been recognized as ‘One of America’s Best High Schools.’ And I congratulate the Vallejo community that has been so supportive of both schools over the years – this is their award, too.”

The STW™—TCS program is sponsored by the California League of Schools (CLS) and the California Department of Education, in partnership with the California Middle Grades Alliance.

All of the schools will be recognized in Sacramento by the California Middle Grades Alliance, and during the California League of Schools' Annual Conference in February. In addition, all Schools to Watch winners will receive national recognition in Washington, D.C., in June.

For more information about the STW™—TCS program, please visit the CLMS High Performing Middle School Models web page or contact California Schools to Watch State Director Carole Carlson at or Co-Director Dr. Irvin Howard at