Altona Middle School Recognized as a 2021 Colorado Trailblazer School to Watch!

Denver, CO – Altona Middle School has been recognized as a 2021 Colorado Trailblazer Schools to Watch! The Colorado Association of Middle Level Education is proud to honor Altona with this distinguished designation. Altona Middle School is 1 of 2 middle schools recognized this year by the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education (CAMLE) and 1 of 100+ schools that will be recognized nationwide by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform.

“Altona demonstrates that high-performance is the result of intentional focus on the whole child. An inclusive environment that cultivates student inquiry, student empowerment, and intellectual rigor results in a dynamic school where students thrive!” explained Julie Shue, State Co-Director of the Colorado Schools to Watch program. “Altona Middle School excels in providing engaging and rigorous learning for each and every child. They have built a powerful, high quality middle grades program that is a model for our state.”

Selection is based on a written application that requires schools to show how they met criteria developed by the Forum. State teams organized by the Colorado Schools to Watch ( program conduct site visits in order to affirm that they have indeed met the rigorous requirements of the award. These teams observe classrooms, interview administrators, teachers, and parents, review achievement data, suspension rates, instructional quality, and student work. Schools are recognized for a three-year period, and at the end of three years must repeat the process in order to be re-designated. Fountain Middle School was the other middle school recognized by CAMLE this year.

Launched in 1999, Schools to Watch began as a national program to identify middle-grades schools across the country that were meeting or exceeding 37 criteria developed by the Forum. The Forum developed a web site ( that features online tours of schools, as well as detailed information about the selection criteria used in the recognition program. Nineteen states are currently involved in the program and the addition of these schools raises the total number of Schools to Watch to over 400 nationwide. The National Forum sponsors the Schools to Watch state program with the support of members, the National Association for Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Association of Middle Level Education, Learning Forward, and the State Schools to Watch programs. The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is an alliance of 65 educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations dedicated to improving education in the middle grades. (

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