Thursday, May 28, 2020
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20190426 BannerAs part of a national recognition program, B.L. Gray Junior High School has been designated as a Texas School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals.

With this recognition, B.L. Gray has become one of 34 campuses in the state to be recognized with this distinction.

“This means B.L. Gray is one of the highest achieving middle grade campuses in the country,” Billy Pringle, state director for Schools to Watch in Texas and TASSP associate executive director said.” This just means their doors will be open to sharing the great things going on in this campus to other schools so they can learn from them.”

About 450 campuses across the country have received the distinction, Pringle added. B.L. Gray will be recognized at the National Schools to Watch Conference in Washington D.C. this coming June. This criteria included Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity and Organizational Structure and Process, according to a press release.

Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by state teams, which observed classrooms, interviewed administrators teachers, students and parents, and looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work. Schools are also recognized for a three-year period, and at the end of the three years, they must demonstrate progress on specific goals in order to be re-designated.

“This school has demonstrated that a high-performing middle school is a place that focuses on academic growth and achievement,” Pringle said. “B.L. Gray Junior High is a place that recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of all students and ensures that every child has access to a challenging high-quality education.”

The school was recognized in a ceremony at B.L. Gray Friday, April 25 where administrators with the district and Pringle were on hand to mark the occasion. At the end of the ceremony, B.L. Gray Principal Julie Carranza was presented with a banner from the Schools to Watch in Texas and TASSP programs.

Previously, Sharyland North Junior High School received this distinction three years ago. Now both of Sharyland’s middle schools have this recognition, Carranza said.

“Even if we had not received the award, we were still committed to being the best even without it,” Carranza said. “This award says we’re always pushing ourselves to learn more, do better and provide students with as many opportunities as possible.”

District Superintendent Maria M. Vidaurri was also at the ceremony and congratulated students and staff for the recognition.

“It affirms all the great things that have been happening because of all the hard work by teachers and the leadership team,” Vidaurri said. “It takes everyone, students and educators, to help us reach this level of excellence.”