Ben Franklin Middle School Designated as an Indiana “School to Watch”

Ben-Franklin-Middle-SchoolBen Franklin Middle School principal, Jeanne Sienkowski, and her staff earned their Designation as one of 13 Indiana “Schools to Watch” who have received this state and national recognition as an exemplary middle school. Nationally they join over 465 middle level (grades 5 – 9) designated “Schools to Watch.” This designation requires a year long process of completing the application and meeting all 4 domains of the “Schools to Watch” criteria of Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity, and Organizational Support and Processes with supporting evidence from their curriculum and schedule.

In addition these schools become “mentor” schools state-wide and nationally for any middle level schools who are seeking help in any of the domains of criteria. These schools welcome visits and net-working of any kind. IMLEA has trained over 50 administrators and teachers in Indiana in the STW criteria so that they are prepared to review applications, participate in site visits, and mentor other IN middle schools. All “Schools to Watch” must go through re-designation every 3 years to ensure the continued validity of the designation.

Teams from new and re-designated schools will attend the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform’s Summer Conference in June of 2019 in Arlington, VA. They will present a session highlighting a program or practice at their school for other states’ attendees; spend an hour with an IN legislator on the “Hill” advocating for middle school best practices; attend the sessions presented by other national STW, and attend a formal gala dinner to publicly receive their engraved award.

For more information about the Schools to Watch program and application, go to the STW page on or call the IMLEA office at 317-894-2937 or email