PROSPECT — The New England League of Middle Schools recently designated Long River Middle School as a Spotlight School.
NELMS is a nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts and an affiliate of the National Middle School Association. The NELMS Spotlight School award recognizes schools that have a record of effective teaching and learning, and consistently implement middle level best practices, the organization’s website states.
Schools apply for the recognition, which includes a $450 application fee. Schools are selected for visitations based on their applications, and a visiting team of three members from NELMS came to Long River in early December to evaluate and provide feedback on the school’s work.
A letter from NELMS Spotlight Schools Coordinator Kathleen Hill to Long River Principal Derek Muharem stated the visiting team “observed a variety of indicators that make it evident your school continues to make progress and is committed to effective instruction, collaboration, teaming and a solid understanding of the young adolescent.”
NELMS commended Long River in 10 areas, including a very strong school culture and climate; a strong leadership team and vibrant sense of community; participation in district common planning time that enhances vertical and horizontal articulation of curriculum; personalized learning experiences for every student; continuous success in state testing and student growth, and the national recognition of five eighth-graders by the National Junior Honor Society.
NELMS also recommended three areas Long River could continue its improvement and commitment to best middle level practices: look at options within the master schedule to offer health education to sixth-graders; augment the school’s website to highlight the educational activities, programs and service offerings; consider opportunities in each grade level to conduct learning walks within and across content areas.
Long River became the 28th middle school in New England to earn the NELMS Spotlight School award.
“This recognition is an affirmation of our commitment and confirms that we are aligned with best practices for middle level students,” Muharem stated in a press release. “This honor highlights the strong support of the Beacon Falls and Prospect community and represents our dedication and relentless drive to provide the best for our students and all of Region 16.”