June 5, 2015 — New York State Regent Beverly Ouderkirk and many other dignitaries helped Glens Falls Middle School celebrate a prestigious accomplishment on Thursday—re-designation, yet again, as an Essential Elements School to Watch.
This is the third time the Middle School has gotten this highly selective recognition for academic excellence, organizational structure and commitment to enhancing the school’s program and practices. Only 17 schools in New York State currently hold the honor, which is fewer than one percent statewide.
“The bottom line for our success to date has been our commitment to the notion that students must feel safe, they must feel empowered and they must feel that it is okay to take reasonable risks if they are to grow,” said Middle School Principal Chris Reed in the Schools to Watch report. “The middle level is an intense period of intellectual and affective growth. Our staff welcomes the challenge and responsibility of creating a positive and proactive learning environment for our students.”
Accolades abounded from: Glens Falls Board of Education President Anna Poulos; NYSMSA Representative Brian Sherman; Dan Hall, Councilman at Large for Mayor Diamond; Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce President Peter Aust; GFMS Association Representatives Brandon Lis, Nancy Campagnone, Kristine Trevette-Jones, and Jennifer Hayes; GFMS Student Senate Vice President Samantha DiFiore; BOCES District Superintendent James Dexter, by way of a letter read by Olivia Dybas; Glens Falls PTSA President Melissa Montgomery; Board of Regents Member Beverly Ouderkirk; New York State Assemblyman Daniel Stec; and Jennifer Lunt on behalf of New York State Senator Betty Little.
“You’ve made our middle school one of the best in New York State,” Superintendent Paul Jenkins said to cheers from the gathered students and staff.
David Payton from the NYS Middle School Association helped present a banner to Mr. Reed and student representatives Samantha DiFiore and Olivia Dybas, after the Middle School’s select chorus performed the song “Gonna Be the Best Day of My Life.” “Everyone in this community has reason to celebrate because everyone had a hand in this success,” said Dr. Payton. He elaborated that not many schools are re-designated as Schools to Watch, so this repeat recognition is all the more special.
“To achieve this level of performance, high-performing schools establish norms, structures, and organizational arrangements to support and sustain their trajectory toward excellence,” states the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. “They have a sense of purpose that drives every facet of practice and decision-making.”
Some unique qualities of Glens Falls Middle School that contribute to the success of the educational program include:
Glens Falls Middle School will be honored at the National Schools to Watch Conference later this month in Washington, D.C.