Video: Seneca Valley Middle School Celebrates Being Named "School to Watch"
The school will serve as a role model to other districts.
Seneca Valley Middle School Assistant Principal Andrea Peck always has lived by the motto that the best in is the middle. On Thursday, she was proved right.
“We are on of the best middle schools in the nation,” she said to a crowd of cheering seventh-and-eighth-grade students.
The school was in celebration mode after being named a 2011 Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn Schools: Schools to Watch winner in the National Schools to Watch Program.
Getting there was not easy.
As with the national Blue Ribbon program, becoming a School to Watch involves a rigorous process in which schools are judged on academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organization structures.
In October, judges from the state committee of the Schools to Watch program spent time with the school’s students, staff, and parents to review a typical day in the district. Overall the school needed to meet 37 criteria to be named a School to Watch. Seneca Valley Middle School excelled at all of them.
“More than anything, this is an affirmation of what we do every day here,” Peck said.
After a months-long application process, the school was notified in February that it had been named a School to Watch. Peck said Thursday’s celebration made it official. The honor is something that all 1,200 of the school’s students can share in, she said.
“Every student was a part of this, and every student can say ‘This is my award,’” she said.
As a school to watch, Seneca Valley Middle School will serve as a role model for other districts. Superintendent Dr. Donald Tylinksi, who recently announced his retirement, also expressed his happiness that the school was recognized on a national level.
He thanked the students, staff, and community members for making it happen.
“Your efforts have put Seneca Valley Middle School on the map,” he said.
Others speakers at the celebration included Paul Meck, director of the Pennsylvania Schools to Watch, and Rick Ford, a board member of the Pennsylvania Middle School Association’s Western Region. Along with student members of the Principal Advisory Council, eighth-grader Teresa Leatherow, who also serves as the middle school’s council president, congratulated her fellow students and teachers for the honor.
“I take a lot of pride in our education and the teachers for providing me with this education,” she said before the celebration began.
The middle-school jazz band also gave a performance and the seventh- and eighth- grade chorus sang “We Are the World” during Thursday’s event in the intermediate high school’s auditorium.
Up next, members of Seneca Valley Middle School’s staff will travel in June to Washington, DC to accept their award at the national Schools to Watch conference.