How to Apply for

NJ Schools to Watch

Applications for Schools to Watch are due on December 15, 2022.

To schedule an information session, please contact

New Jersey Schools to Watch® is part of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform that provides a protocol to identify high-performing middle-level schools willing to serve as models and provide mentorship to other schools serving middle-grade students.

New Jersey Schools to Watch® are not perfect, but they are on a trajectory toward excellence and have a passion for sharing what works in their school. Schools should only apply if school administrators will embrace the mentorship role and willingly advise staff from other schools who will call, visit or email.


Phase I - Assess your readiness

  1. Use the School to Watch Self-Study to facilitate your school’s reflection prior to the application completion process. This self-study rubric contains the criteria of best practices required for being identified as a School to Watch. This rubric can promote staff reflection and support the continuous improvement process for any middle grades school. NJSTW Self-Rating Rubric

  2. Visit a New Jersey School to Watch! They are open and ready to share their experience and support.

  3. Principal completes the Deliberative Dozen and contacts a NJ Schools to Watch Director. Principal's Deliberative Dozen

  4. Join NJAMLE - Schools submitting an application must be members of NJAMLE.

Phase 2 - The Application

OUR PROCESS HAS CHANGED! Please read through the entire process prior to beginning your application.

The National Forum has made recent adjustments to the overall process.

TO BE CONSIDERED FOR New Jersey Schools to Watch DESIGNATION, READ THROUGH THE PROCEDURES AND COMPLETE THE 4-PARTS OF THE TOTAL APPLICATION PACKAGE. Click Here to Access the Application. When you open the link you will be directed to make a copy of the document. Follow the instructions for how to rename it. There are four parts to the application. All 4 Parts must be submitted as one document (see the Instructions in the Application).

Part I – Descriptive Information – Application Writing Team – School Demographics/Characteristics – Additional Information

Part II – Narrative

Part III – Recent Changes (include response to Covid 19 in this section)

Part IV – Assurances

Complete the Schools to Watch Online Rubric/Survey: DO NOT COMPLETE the online rubric unless you are certain you will be applying for the Schools to Watch designation. If you do not complete an application, you will be charged $300 by the University of Illinois/National Forum. If you do submit an application for Schools to Watch – there is NO COST. If you are curious about the content of the rubric, please review the Self-Study Rubric.. Do not use the link in the Application form to request the Online Rubric for your school. Request the link from the NJ State Directors: (note- the Online Rubric must be requested by October 1, 2022)

Processes for New and Redesignated Schools are all contained in the Application Directions with the following exceptions:

For New and Redesignated Schools State Test Scores for three years are waived - The use of state assessment scores to evaluate the three-year trajectory of academic progress will be waived for the 2022-2023 application as a result of assessment data not being available for spring 2020 and 2021. Applicants will be asked to instead include a one-page statement regarding their academic progress, including student subgroups performance, NJSLA Spring 2022 performance, and efforts to assess progress over the past three years (2019-2021).

For Re-designation applications - In addition to the items requested in the National Forum Application include a one-page narrative that tells how your school (Administration and staff) has supported the efforts to promote NJ Schools to Watch and the New Jersey Association for Middle Level Education

Phase 3: Submission Process

Submit completed documents to both the national and state program. ALL of the documents will be submitted to your state via email as instructed in the Application Directions.

If you have any questions related to the application process, please contact Rick Delmonaco or Aimee Toth at

Thank you and best wishes to all applicants!

Click here for Schools to Watch Overview, Timeline and FAQ's

Please contact Rick Delmonaco or Aimee Toth at to discuss questions about applying.