Marlboro MS receives special designation

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 6/22/22

Last week the Marlboro school board listened to an Essential School to Watch presentation that was led by Marlboro Middle School Principal Debra Clinton. She said the program promotes continuous …

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Marlboro MS receives special designation


Last week the Marlboro school board listened to an Essential School to Watch presentation that was led by Marlboro Middle School Principal Debra Clinton. She said the program promotes continuous school improvement and recognizes those diverse high performing, growth oriented Middle Grade Schools that demonstrate what these schools are capable of achieving. Schools with this designation have to meet 37 criteria, encompassing academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, organizational structures and processes.

The Middle School began discussing this program over several years but the official process began in the 2018-19 school year with a 120 page document. In November 2019 the Middle School had a site visit from a number of members of a committee who met with the administration, teachers, parents and students.

Assistant Principal Demian Stanmyer said, “In the spring of 2020 they designated us a rising star which was exciting and it was the first step before we were recognized before everything shut down and we were on hold because of the pandemic. However, through the last two years we were able to improve certain areas such as our one-to-one initiative and using Chromebooks so seamlessly during the pandemic. After that, some other technology needs were met and thank you to the school board for that support. Now, we are fully designated as a School to Watch.”

Kassia Connors has been a part of this process from the start.

“With Deb’s [Clinton] constant guidance it’s been a fun journey and Hayden [Carlin] as well has been on the committee since the beginning,” she said.

Connors said in April 2022 team members returned to review the school’s updates, “tour the school, peek in our classrooms, interview students, administrators and teachers and I have to tell you from a teachers perspective, it was really enlightening to sit with these people. We got so many ideas but I have to say in the 15 years that I’ve been there it was one of my proudest moments because I’ve never heard anybody speak more highly of the Marlboro Middle School, it was really very humbling.” That month the school received their official notification that they were designated as an ‘Essential Element School To Watch.’

Connors said there will be an event to celebrate this accomplishment early in the 2022-23 school year, followed by an official national recognition in June 2023 in Washington D.C.

It was noted that this recognition places a focus on always trying to improve “the little things and the larger kind of systemic things, so that’s where we’re going from here...and how can we get even better.” The school will try to maximize program opportunities for students, the course offerings, the different clubs, the teams, “and everything we can bring here that makes Marlboro the welcoming place that we want it to be for all our students and how can we make that even better by maximizing what we have and bring more in and networking with other designated schools within the state.” There is a re-designation application every three years and the school is beginning to look ahead as to where they want to go in the next few years.

Clinton thanked the school board and the central administration, “for your unwavering support throughout this process and we look forward to continue growing our programs yo meet the needs of all of our students.”

Clinton pointed out that her school was initially not eligible, “because we did meet all the requirements, in particular the technology position that we added back into the middle school. This has been a rebirth of the Middle School if you will; It’s a continued commitment to moving our district and our building forward to meeting all of the needs of our students.”

As Clinton concluded her remarks the school board gave her a standing ovation to acknowledge the significant achievement by the Middle School.

School Board member Mike Connors highlighted the importance of the designation.

“I just want everybody to understand how awesome this is; nationally there are only 350 schools that receive this designation, so that averages out to about 7 per state and in a state of 19 million people [NY] that’s an awesome honor,” he said. “As you said, you get re-certified every three years and if you guys are at number 7, I look forward to seeing you guys at number one.”

School Board President John Cantone thanked Clinton for the presentation, “and all you’ve done to get us there.”


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