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Pleasantville Middle School Given NYSED Honor

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pleasantville Middle School recently was given the honor of being distinguished as one of seven “Schools to Watch” in the state by the New York State Education Department.

Although proud of the honor, Pleasantville Union Free School District Board of Education President Lois Winkler said the title can be a little misleading.

“Schools to watch is a little ambiguous, it really should be schools to emulate and schools you want to try and be like” Winkler said. “We’re very proud of them and we’re really thrilled.”

The “Schools to Watch” program is part of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform in which the New York State Education Department participates.  The forum is a group of more than 60 educators, researchers and professionals with a goal of promoting academic performance and healthy development of middle school children.  Since the “Schools to Watch” program was implemented in 2004, only 25 New York State middle schools have been chosen for the distinction. The program focuses on middle school improvement and recognition. Schools are judged on the following four criteria points: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational structure.

Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter said members of the state education department were embedded into the school to judge the middle school’s performance.

“The state sent a team down here who spent two days in the middle school from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and were given free access,” Fox-Alter said. “They dropped in on classrooms, they interviewed students and teachers, they spoke with community members and then officially wrote their report.”

Pleasantville Middle School is the only Westchester County school to be given the honor. The school will be recognized at a national conference June 21 in Washington D.C.

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