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One of Only Five Schools in California to be Re-Designated Three Times


In 2014, Alvarado Intermediate was one of only five schools in California to be re-designated for the third time as a national "Schools to Watch." The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform announced one hundred and sixteen exemplary middle-grades schools in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia have been named “Schools to Watch” as part of the recognition and improvement program. Having established partnership with education leaders in these states, the Forum announced the names of schools in each state that meet its strict criteria. Rowland Unified School District is proud that Alvarado Intermediate is one of only five schools in California to be re-designated as a “Schools to Watch” for three times. Alvarado Intermediate was recognized at the Schools to Watch Conference in the Washington, DC area on June 26- 28, 2014.

       Each “Schools to Watch” school was selected by state leaders for its academic excellence, its responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and its commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels. In addition, each school has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.

            Linda Hopping, Chair of the National Forum’s Schools to Watch Oversight Committee stated, “These schools demonstrate that high-performing middle grades schools have a clear focus on academic growth and achievement. They also recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensuring that each and every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education. We are proud to have these schools serve as models from which others can learn.”

            Selection is based on a written application that required schools to show how they met criteria developed by the Forum. Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by state teams who observed classrooms, interviewed administrators, teachers, students, and parents, and looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work. Schools are recognized for a three-year period; and at the end of three years, schools must repeat the process in order to be re-designated. Seventy-seven schools of the 116 recognized have maintained or increased their levels of excellence and are being re-designated. The schools vary in size from several hundred to several thousand students and represent urban, suburban, and rural communities.

            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 web site ( features detailed information about the selection criteria. The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is an alliance of 40 educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations dedicated to improving education in the middle grades.

            Alvarado Intermediate serves grades 7th and 8th grade students in Rowland Heights. The school was first named a Model Middle School in 2004, then re-designated in 2007, 2011 and again in 2014.  It is a recognized and award-winning "School of Excellence" on a national and state level and is located at 1901 S. Desire Avenue in Rowland Heights. For more information, contact Alvarado Principal Scott Cavanias at (626)964-2358 or visit