The UNCG Middle College was ranked among the finalists for the 2018 America’s Best Urban Schools Awards. The awards program seeks to recognize institutions that are successful, spread more awareness about urban schools and increase educational practices that allow such schools to succeed.
In addition, schools must meet certain criteria to qualify for an award. Such criteria includes being located in an urban area, obtaining above average proficiency rates in all demographics and providing a rich educational environment.
In order to receive an award, schools must be nominated and then apply to be considered. During the application process, schools must submit a letter of intent, a rigorous application and two videos of two lessons being taught.
The UNCG Middle College Program allows students to attend and earn their high school diploma while simultaneously earning credit towards college. Middle College Programs are primarily aimed to prepare students for college and careers after high school.
“The Vision at the Middle College of UNCG is to develop and prepare globally responsible individuals for the health and life sciences to be college, career and life ready,” the UNCG Middle College vision & mission statement. “The Mission in collaboration with our parents and community partners, we will continuously create an academically rigorous, nurturing, and safe learning environment where students explore health, medical and youth development careers as they increase their knowledge of STEM.”
According to UNCG Now, the UNCG Middle College has continued to show growth in standardized testing with 86 percent of students who took the ACT last year being proficient by state standards.
“Everybody brings something to the table. It just goes to show you that everybody is unique and special in their own way and contributes to the success that we experience as a school,” Polk-Jones says according to UNCG Now. “It truly is an honor to be the inaugural principal of such an outstanding program that my staff, our district, our university partner, parents and I have created.”
The UNCG Middle College will receive a site visit in March to determine whether they will win an award. The site visit will include classroom observation, sit-ins on teacher or parents meetings as well as other school activities, an interview with administrators and conducting focus groups with teachers, staff, students and parents.
“Across all schools we find evidence of high-expectations for student learning, teacher collaboration, direct and small-group instruction to address diverse learning needs, processes to identify and support students who need intervention, opportunities for students to engage in rich arts and extracurricular activities, and caring, supportive relationships among students, faculty, parents, and community members,” states the National Center for Urban School Transformation.
The potential awards include gold, silver or bronze winners. The winners will be announced in October at America’s Best Urban School Symposium. All other finalists will be added to America’s Best Urban Schools Honor Roll.