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California Schools to Watch

Don't Miss the Schools to Watch Leadership Retreat

October 27-28, 2023, North Lake Tahoe

Are you an administrator of a California School to Watch? Would you like your school to become a School to Watch? Either way, we have the event for you!


The Schools to Watch Leadership Retreat will give you the chance to get away, decompress, learn about things you’re interested in, share your knowledge, and connect with your peers!

We Need Your Input!

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The National Forum is planning to update the Schools to Watch Rubric this year and we need feedback from current STWs to help guide the rubric revisions.

Come to beautiful Lake Tahoe and join the panel to help the Forum with this process. We truly need your insight!

2023 California Schools to Watch

Congratulations to the 77 California middle-grades schools and that have been recognized by the
California Schools to Watch program for 2023! There are 36 new California Schools to Watch this year.

Potential 2024 School to Watch
Does your middle school, K-8 school, traditional school, or public charter school serve middle-grades students exceptionally well? Application for 2024 is available!


Applications are due October 2, 2023


Applying is free and easy. Be recognized and share your site’s best practices with other educators!

Current Schools to Watch

  • Renew Your Schools to Watch membership
    Annual membership is required. Renewal invoices will be emailed in August and mailed in September.

  • Redesignate as a School to Watch
    Every three years, Schools to Watch reapply to ensure growth is continuing. This year, reapplying is simpler than ever! Visit the Schools to Watch redesignation page

See California Schools to Watch

Browse over 150 schools in the network.

About Schools to Watch
Schools to Watch is a national network of over 600 schools in 17 states. California is the largest state participant. Schools that apply to become Schools to Watch in the fall submit an application that is reviewed by experienced middle-grades experts in their state. If the application is approved, the school hosts a validation visit. If the school meets the qualifications, the school becomes a California School to Watch in March and a National School to Watch in June. 

The California Schools to Watch program is operated by:

Lead Agencies

  • California League of Educators

  • California Department of Education

Program Partners

  • California Middle Grades Alliance, a partnership of CDE, CLE, and:

    • Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)

    • Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)

    • California School Boards Association (CSBA)

    • California Parent Teachers Association (CAPTA)

    • California Teachers Association (CTA)

  • National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform

  • California Schools to Watch Model Schools


California Middle Grades Alliance


About CMGA

California Middle Grades Alliance (CMGA) seeks a united voice for the education of California’s 1.5 million middle grades students. Initially formed in 2001 to launch the California Department of Education’s first edition of Taking Center Stage, a comprehensive report of recommendations for middle grades educators, CMGA was an integral part of the roll-out of the next iteration, Taking Center Stage—Act II (TCSII). CMGA has supported many other policies and programs that include California Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage and CMGA Leadership Recognition.


CMGA Mission

The mission of CMGA is to support high quality middle grades education designed to close the achievement gap and ensure success for all students through increasing public awareness, disseminating research and best practices, and influencing middle grades policy and informed decision-making at the state and local level.


CMGA Goals

  • Increase public awareness and engagement regarding middle level education

  • Influence middle grades policy and inform decision-making

  • Leverage resources across CMGA organizations

  • Encourage California-based research on middle grades to uncover “what works” for young adolescents

  • Disseminate research and best practices

  • Develop awareness and dynamic leadership in the middle grades

  • Foster professional learning communities

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