Association for Middle Level Education Announces Inaugural Schools of Distinction Recipients

AMLE Schools of Distinction Logo

For Immediate Release

June 8, 2022

Columbus, OH — The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) has announced twelve schools that have been named its inaugural AMLE Schools of Distinction. The recipient schools are:

Belmont Ridge Middle School
Leesburg, VA

Coastal Middle School
Savannah, GA

Community School
Roanoke, VA

Douglas Middle School
Douglas, WY

Laveen Elementary School
Laveen, AZ

Lee County East Middle School
Leesburg, GA

Lee County West Middle School
Leesburg, GA

River Bend Middle School
Sterling, VA

Ridgeview Charter Middle School
Sandy Springs, GA

Seaman Middle School
Topeka, KS

Smart’s Mill Middle School
Leesburg, VA

Upson-Lee Middle School
Thomaston, GA

This marks the inaugural year of the AMLE Schools of Distinction program, which is designed to both recognize exemplary schools and guide them through a process of strategic vision setting to help foster ongoing growth and success. The program’s evaluation criteria are anchored in AMLE’s landmark position paper on best practice in the middle grades, The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, now in its fifth edition and 40th year of publication.

“We look forward to celebrating these schools and all that makes the middle level special in the coming months,” said Stephanie Patton, Chair of the AMLE Schools of Distinction Committee, “I want to extend a special thanks to everyone who made this inaugural year a success, including the hundreds of school community stakeholders that participated and our committee members and AMLE staff who dedicated many hours to supporting the schools throughout the process.”

Each recipient school completed a rigorous review process that measured their implementation of the characteristics of successful middle grades schools and continuous improvement plans. “We are delighted to recognize these amazing schools that truly highlight for our communities the exceptional work that takes place every day in middle level education,” said Stephanie Simpson, CEO of AMLE, “We hope for these inaugural recipients to lead the way in creating a network of educators committed to the middle school model that can lean from and support each other.” Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, AMLE will publish profiles for each school to promote and share the exemplary practices occurring in each of the recipient schools.

“We are excited to champion these schools and look forward to seeing them grow and positively impact their students,” said Dr. Lisa Harrison, Chair of the AMLE Board of Trustees, “We congratulate all of the dedicated educators and their respective school communities on this outstanding achievement.”

The recipient schools will be recognized and present on their exemplary practices live at the #AMLE22: The 49th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education this November in Orlando, Florida.

AMLE will continue to recognize schools that meet the Schools of Distinction criteria on an annual basis. The program is open to any school that educates 10–15-year-old students. The AMLE website contains more information about AMLE Schools of Distinction and The Successful Middle School Program.


About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) is an international membership organization that helps middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. To learn more, visit