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WAMS Earns Don Eichhorn Schools to Watch Designation

West Allegheny School District is elated to announce that the West Allegheny Middle School has earned the distinguished PA Don Eichhorn Schools: Schools to Watch designation, a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. This achievement follows an intense application and review process led by principal Dr. Frank Hernandez and assistant principal Megan Huchko.

West Allegheny Middle School shares this honor with only 37 other Pennsylvania middle-grade schools out of the approximately 572 public middle schools statewide.  State leaders selected these schools for their academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels.  In addition, each designated school has demonstrated strong leadership, teacher willingness to work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement. 

“Being one of only 38 schools statewide to be designated as a PA Don Eichhorn Schools to Watch is a testament to the perseverance and commitment to excellence embodied by our middle school staff, Ms. Huchko and Dr. Hernandez,” stated Dr. Jerri Lynn Lippert, superintendent.  “Our middle school staff is exemplary, with a focused ethic of care for our students and commitment to ensuring all students are successful and prepared for high school.  Dr. Hernandez has been a tremendous addition to the middle school, partnering with Ms. Huchko to provide the needed leadership and empowerment of staff.  It is with tremendous pride that we celebrate this distinction.” 

“We applied to be a PA Don Eichhorn School to Watch because we are extremely proud of the success of our programs and the staff’s commitment to our students, which they consistently demonstrate in the Schools to Watch focus areas of academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structures and processes,” said Dr. Hernandez.  “Through the application process, we were able to showcase several best practices that have greatly impacted the academic and social culture of our school including our Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) / Indian Pride programs, teacher data summits, new science, math and computer programming/robotics programs, student leadership, and student, parent and community engagement.  We are most notably proud of the meaningful relationships we are building with our students every day.”

West Allegheny Middle School will be recognized at the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education state conference in February.  The middle school team has also been selected to present a session at the state conference highlighting their Indian Pride/PBIS program and will be invited to receive national recognition at the National Schools to Watch Conference in Washington, D.C. this summer. 

In a joint statement, Dr. Hernandez and Ms. Huchko added: “We would like our students, staff and community to know that this distinction reflects our team’s commitment to our students and to one another and validates the hard work and dedication of our school community to being one of the best schools in Pennsylvania.  Over the last several years, WAMS has undertaken multiple improvement efforts, increasing student achievement and cultivating a positive learning environment for all students and staff.  The PA Don Eichhorn Award will be proudly received by our students and staff as we continue to work together to make WAMS the best possible school for OUR students.”

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