Alliance for Excellent Education

Association for Middle Level Education

National Association of Secondary School Principals

National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform


Honorary Co-hosts

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7)  





Early Warning Indicator Systems:

A Tool for High Performing Middle Grades Schools

This briefing will discuss the impact of using early warning indicator systems—which identify students at high risk of dropping out as early as sixth grade—to keep students on track for graduation and accelerate successful student progress. Hear from representatives from a middle school, the research community, and Congressional staff.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

HC-8 in the Capitol

*Please bring identification for entrance via the House side of Capitol * 


Presenters Include


Bob Wise, President

Alliance for Excellent Education


Bob Balfanz, Co-director, Everyone Graduates Center

Johns Hopkins University


    Catherine Miller, Teacher and Data Specialist

                                MS 244, The New School for Leadership and the Arts

Bronx, NY


Regan Fitzgerald, Legislative Counsel

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)


RSVP to: Ellen Fern –

Renewing an effort to strengthen middle level education as a way to increase high school graduation rates, Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) have reintroduced the Success in the Middle Act (H.R. 3006/S. 1362). Although there was strong support to pass the legislation as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, action on all education bills was postponed during the 110th Congress.

“Middle schools are a forgotten area,” said Congressman Grijalva. “We need to invest in the most crucial years of the education pipeline to ensure our students succeed. Middle school students are faced with many changes in their personal life and the pressures of adjusting into teenagers. Our schools need to invest in this transitional period, to create the support mechanism these students will need to continue through high school and on to other higher education opportunities.”

“There has been significant focud during K-12 reform discussions regarding high school reform, and while there is no doubt that this is an essential component of improving our education system, addressing dropout prevention must begin earlier,” said Sen. Reed in a statement on the Senate floor. “As one of the leading experts in the area of middle and high school reform, Robert Balfanz has stated, middle schools are the ‘first line of defense’ in identifying at-risk students and then effectively intervening to prevent them from dropping out.”

NASSP worked with the National Middle School Association, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, and a number of other education groups to draft the Success in the Middle Act, and the bill incorporates many of the recommendations outlined in Breaking Ranks in the Middle. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Authorize $1 billion annually for grants to local school districts to improve low-performing schools that contain middle grades.
  • Require states receiving grants to implement a plan that describes what students are required to know and do to successfully complete the middle grades and transition to and succeed in an academically rigorous high school that prepares them for postsecondary education and the workplace
  • Require states to develop early warning and intervention systems to identify those students most at-risk of dropping out and intervene appropriately to help them succeed.
  • Encourage states and districts to invest in proven strategies, such as: 1) Providing professional development and coaching to school leaders, teachers and other school personnel in addressing the needs of diverse learners and in using challenging and relevant research-based best practices and curriculum; 2) Developing and implementing comprehensive, school-wide improvement efforts in eligible schools; and 3) Implementing student supports, such as extended learning time and personal academic plans that enable all students to stay on the path to graduation.
  • Authorizes an additional $100 million to facilitate the generation, dissemination, and application of research to identify promising practices in middle grades education, as well as review existing research on middle grades education practices.

Take action! As a school leader, you are in a prime position to educate your members of Congress about the needs of middle level schools and their students. Please visit the Principal’s Legislative Action Center and urge your representative and senators to cosponsor the Success in the Middle Act.