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National Middle School Association

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Middle school teaching -- United States, Adolescence, Teenagers -- Education, Middle schools -- Curricula


Two dangers are associated with any list purporting to include the characteristics of exemplary schools for young adolescents. One danger is a perception that the list is exhaustive—that it includes everything that needs to be considered. In reality, a list cannot capture the subtleties and complexities of schooling. A second danger is that each component will be seen as somehow self-contained, something that can be addressed in isolation. Instead, research demonstrates that the characteristics listed above are “an interacting and interdependent group of practices that form a unified whole… [that] must be dealt with holistically, systemically, to ensure success” (Jackson & Davis, 2000, p. 27). Research evidence points to the value of a systems approach for improving schools, an approach that intentionally and carefully considers the interactions between and among the characteristics of exemplary schools for young adolescents (Anfara, Andrews, Hough, Mertens, Mizelle, & White, 2003; Felner, Jackson, Kasak, Mulhall, Brand, & Flowers, 1997; Johns Hopkins University & Abt Associates, Inc., 1997; Lee & Smith, 2000; Lee, Smith, Perry, & Smylie, 1999; Mertens & Flowers, 2003; Sweetland & Hoy, 2000).


This is the publisher's final PDF. Reprinted with permission of the Association for Middle Level Education.

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