Each year, thousands of America’s school administrators, teachers, parents, business leaders, and policymakers join together at one event for ideas and inspiration that place children first. The Model Schools conference, held this past July in the nation’s capital, is the nation’s premier conference on K-12 education reform and one of the largest with over 8,000 participants each year.
Schools are chosen as “models” based on their outstanding programs and dedication to rigorous and relevant education for all students. Ashe County Middle School was one of 10 middle schools chosen to serve as national models and be highlighted at this conference.
Principal Bobby Ashley, Assistant Principal Kim Ball, and Media Specialist Sheila Richardson were asked to attend and make presentations at the Model Schools Conference held in Washington, D.C. They presented four separate sessions reaching hundreds of participants. Their presentation entitled “Meeting Adolescent Needs in a Rural School” highlighted three areas of best practice: Academic Excellence, Programs for At-Risk Students, and After-School Programs. Ashe County Middle School was the only school in North Carolina asked to present at this year’s conference.
“This was quite an honor for our school!” said Principal Ashley. “We were asked to come to Washington and present this information based on our success at Ashe County Middle School. This was not something we sought out and applied for. It is a wonderful tribute to the hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff.”
Ashley said that this performance model for high schools, created by Dr. Bill Daggett, founder and president of the International Center for Leadership in Education, was applied to middle schools across the nation, and Ashe County Middle School was among those chosen as model schools. In connection with this recognition, Ashley received a letter from the National Association of Secondary School Principals to be involved in the Break Through Schools program. This national recognition targets high achieving middle schools with at least 40 percent of the student population considered economically disadvantaged and whose Best Practices and Outstanding Results inform other schools of their success.
ACMS is expecting a visit from the NASSP in December to verify its application for the recognition. If the school is chosen for the recognition, ACMS will receive $5,000 and inclusion in a national magazine. Principal Ashley will make a presentation in Texas at the NASSP annual conference.
Ashe County Middle School has also been recognized as a National Schools to Watch, an Honor School of Excellence, and continues to have some of the highest test scores in the state.