Dorseyville named school to watch by national forum
Dorseyville Middle School is one of the best in Pennsylvania, according to an honor earned this month from the “Schools to Watch” program.
The Fox Chapel Area school is one of only six to earn the designation — and it is the second time in three years that the staff, led by Principal Matt Harris, has earned the award.
“It's an absolute thrill,” Harris said. “It is an intense process going through the application.”
Developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, the initiative was launched in 1999 by a group of more than 60 educators, researchers and foundations with the aim to promote the healthy development of teens.
“It is the most unique learning group,” Harris said.
“They are undergoing a phase of development when their brains are changing so rapidly.
“They don't want to be near adults, but they need their guidance.”
Harris credited the Dorseyville staff for responding to the specific needs of middle school students.
He said teachers, support staff and the community have succeeded in structuring an entire program to help students “find themselves.”
“They address their needs, give them the opportunities to express individuality and guide them,” Harris said.
In short, the school's culture meets the goals set by “Schools to Watch,” in that it prepares students to be lifelong learners, ready for college, career and citizenship.
“The program seeks to make every middle grades school academically excellent, responsive to the developmental needs and interests of young adolescents and socially equitable,” said John Harrison, past president of the National Forum, who congratulated Dorseyville and all the winners for being places that do great things for all of their students.
The process of becoming a “Schools to Watch” involves a self-evaluation by school personnel and a visit by state education leaders to assess not only academics but responsiveness to the needs and interests of students.
Representatives visited the middle school in November to observe classrooms, interview staff, and review achievement data and the quality of curriculum lessons.
Harris said the staff is judged on its leadership and ability to work together, along with its willingness to change.
“We are dedicated to continual growth. We are really open to new ideas,” he said. “This honor is very validating.”
Harris attended the Pennsylvania Middle School Association Education Conference last week in State College to receive a plaque; the school will also be recognized in June as part of the National Schools to Watch Conference in Washington, D.C.
Students will share in the achievement during a school celebration April 25.
Fox Chapel Area School District Superintendent Anne Stephens said the recognition for the middle school speaks to an exceptional school community.
“Sustaining that level of excellence reaffirms the commitment that is evident by the entire staff,” she said.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rain barrel initiative in Lower Valley river towns aims to reduce pollutants
- O’Hara RIDC Park business plans to expand, add jobs
- Aspinwall holiday celebration to feature many new attractions
- Blawnox seeks grant to fix McKinley Street
- Fox Chapel homecoming activities include community carnival
- Hartwood run to aid Indiana Twp. girl
- Fox Chapel native returns home to tell tale at Cooper-Siegel Community Library