Essential Elements

Welcome to a new wiki intended to be a source of networking about the NYS Essential Elements of Standards Focused Middle Level Schools and Programs. There are seven Essential Elements, by the way:
  1. A philosophy and mission that reflect the intellectual and developmental needs and characteristics of young adolescents.
  2. An educational program that is comprehensive, challenging, purposeful, integrated, relevant, and standards-based.
  3. An organization and structure that support both academic excellence and personal development.
  4. Classroom instruction appropriate to the needs and characteristics of young adolescents provided by skilled and knowledgeable teachers.
  5. Strong educational leadership and a building administration that encourage, facilitate, and sustain involvement, participation, and leadership.
  6. A network of academic and personal support available for all students.
  7. Professional learning and staff development for all staff that are ongoing, planned, purposeful, and collaboratively developed.

There is, of course, more to them. You can find the details at www.nysmsa.org, or here they are.

In July of 2003 the New York State Board of Regents issued its policy statement on middle level education. The statement declared that the New York State Education Department’s seven Essential Elements must be in place in standards-focused schools with middle-level grades in New York State.

Additionally, the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (part 100.4) now require school districts in New York State to ensure that their middle-level program is aligned with the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education and the State Education Department’s Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level Schools and Programs.

Does your school meet the State’s expectation declared in its policy and regulations? One way to know how well your school is implementing the Essential Elements is by using the rubrics that accompany them. The rubrics go along with each of the Essential Elements and you can conduct a self-evaluation with them. Another great way to asses your school's implementation of the Essential Elements is through the Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch Recognition Program. Here you will find information not only on New York State's Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch Recognition Program but also on the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform and its national Schools-to-Watch program.