On April 22, 2021, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that 30 schools were redesignated as high-performing California schools under the Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage program.  Included in the Redesignated 2021 California Schools to Watch cohort are Griffiths and Stauffer middle schools!  Out of these 30 California schools, only nine are located within Los Angeles County, two being those in Downey Unified. These high-performing model schools demonstrate sustained progress in academic excellence, social equity and responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents.

“Congratulations to these schools for building systems that support all students in believing in themselves, discovering their individual interests, and working toward their academic, life and career goals,” Thurmond said. “These schools are outstanding examples of how educational innovation and a dedicated school community can keep students engaged and learning through a critical stage in their K-12 journey.”

Every three years, schools who are interested in retaining this prestigious designation are asked to go through a reapplication process to be re-evaluated. Griffiths and Stauffer middle schools received their initial designation as both California and National Schools to Watch in 2018 and completed this re-evaluation during the pandemic.  In 2019, Doty Middle School was also designated as a California and National Schools to Watch and will begin this redesignation process in the coming year.

 “This redesignation reaffirms the fantastic work many have done within our schools, the district and even our larger community,” proudly expressed Superintendent, Dr. John Garcia. “California’s Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage program uses a competitive, rigorous review and re-evaluation process to recognize high performing, high impact schools so that all schools may have models of real-world success.”

The 2021 cohort of schools was recognized by State Superintendent Thurmond during the virtual California Schools to Watch Celebration that is part of the California League of Schools (CLS) Embracing Equity & Excellence Conference. For more information about the program, please visit the California Schools to Watch web page.

The California Schools to Watch program is sponsored by the California Department of Education, CLS, and the California Middle Grades Alliance, in association with the National Forum. To earn this designation, schools must complete an extensive application and host a site visit by middle grades experts. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years.