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LEMOORE — After being recognized as a California state “School to Watch” in March, Liberty Middle School in Lemoore did not let much time lapse between earning even more recognitions for its excellence.

National 'School to Watch'

At the end of June, educators from Liberty Middle School and the Lemoore Union Elementary School District traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the 2018 Schools to Watch Conference sponsored by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.

While at the conference, Liberty Middle School was designated as a 2018 National “School to Watch.”

The National Forum has been recognizing high performing middle schools since 1999 and in that time, only 465 middle schools across the United States have been designated as “Schools to Watch.”

The National Forum uses the following categories when designating a middle school as high performing: academically excellent, developmentally responsive and socially equitable.

Liberty Middle School educators spent their time in D.C. advocating for the importance of funding middle grades education, LUESD Superintendent Cheryl Hunt said in a press release.

Hunt said Liberty Middle School educators were able to present to other educators from around the country about the “Liberty Way,” which includes the “3Cs”: Culture, Collaboration and Coaching.

Through the 3Cs, Hunt said Liberty Middle School has been able to create a school where learning is the primary focus for all students, teachers, office staff and support staff.

“Teachers work together to do whatever it takes to ensure high levels of learning for all students,” Hunt said.

She said the school also uses an instructional coaching model which provides coaching during actual instruction and real time feedback to teachers in the classroom, leading to increased student success.

Principal Ben Luis, who attended the trip, said other teachers and educators were blown away with Liberty Middle School’s 3C model, which he believes is something very different than what others schools implement.

Those who went on the trip were also able to personally meet with Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford). Besides taking the time to give them with a tour of the Capitol, Luis said Valadao talked with them about the unique needs of middle schoolers.

Honor Roll School

Before the end of the last school year, Liberty Middle School was also recognized as a 2017/2018 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll School for high achievement and student success.

The Honor Roll program, sponsored by the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence, is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and districts that are improving student outcomes.

The program is conducted by the Educational Results Partnership, a nonprofit organization that maintains the nation’s largest database on student achievement. It’s the only award given in collaboration with business leaders and includes graduation and dropout rate data.

Liberty Middle School was one of 1,798 public schools in California to be recognized.

The 2017/2018 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll utilizes public school student achievement data to identify successful schools and districts and Liberty Middle School’s results led to the recognition.

Hunt said the school stands above others in the state because of its demonstrated ability to get students to grade level achievement and beyond and has also demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and a reduction in achievement gaps among student populations.

Due to the accomplishment, Liberty Middle School is featured on the Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll website and a banner was designed to hang proudly at the school.

“We are thankful for the hard work of our students and teachers at Liberty Middle School,” Hunt said. “This recognition is a testament to the sustained focus on academic results and commitment to student success that our school and parent community have shown over the years.”

In general, Luis said he’s glad the hard work students and staff have been putting in for years is finally blossoming.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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