Great Brook named Spotlight School in NE

Award testament to school’s ability to ‘personalize’ education

  • Great Brook Middle School students celebrate Friday during an assembly at the school. STAFF PHOTO BY Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, May 02, 2016 7:23PM

Every month, Great Brook Middle School students gather in the gym to distribute awards – recognition for excellence in various academics, art, school spirit, and effort, just to name a few. During this month’s ceremony, they recieved an extra surprise.

During the regular assembly, Principal Jim Elder stepped aside to allow a representative from the New England League of Middle Schools to take the podium and announce that Great Brook has been named a spotlight school for their organization.

“There’s naturally a lot of focus on elementary and high school in education evaluation,” said Elder in an interview after the school-wide announcement.

“But middle school is one of the most critical times in a child’s development. It’s when they make the decision about whether or not they are good athletes or artists, whether they are smart or not. The New England League of Middle Schools understands that.”

The  Spotlight School Award is to recognize schools that have a record of effective teaching and learning for young adolescents and consistently implement middle level best practices and for developing strong, effective programs. A school is evaluated before the initial award and then re-evaluated every three years to see if standards have been upkept to remain a spotlight school. Currently, the New England League of Middle Schools has 34 spotlight schools.

Great Brook applied for the award this year, and was recognized after a visit and in-depth assessment in March. Great Brook is one of eight spotlight schools recognized this year, out of 39 applicants, and the only New Hampshire school recognized for this award this year.

“They recognized the personalization of education we have here,” said Elder. “The teachers know and care about everyone in their classroom, and desire that all students make good academic progress.”

The school was also recognized for its practices of including student voices, through programs like its daily announcements, which is a TV broadcast produced by the students, and its culture of recognizing student achievement through monthly assemblies like the one where the spotlight award was announced. 


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.