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California Schools to Watch

Become a 2025 School to Watch

Does your middle school, K-8 school, traditional school, or public charter school serve middle-grades students exceptionally well? Be recognized and share your site’s best practices with other educators!


Request Application Instructions

Complete the form below and you will receive an email with a link to the application instructions.


If you are a Redesignating Schools to Watch please visit your page.

If you do not see the fields above, you may access the form directly.

Current Schools to Watch

  • Renew Your CLS Schools to Watch membership
    Annual membership is requested. 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 the 200 schools in the network

About Schools to Watch
Schools to Watch is a national network of over 600 schools in 18 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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