The Successful Middle School Grant

A program of the AMLE Foundation Fund

AMLE believes that the true middle school is one that has been planned and organized to address the unique developmental, academic, and cultural needs of young adolescents. This model is articulated in AMLE’s landmark position paper, The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, originally published in 1982 and now in its 5th edition. Our core mission is to help middle level educators actualize the successful middle school in their own communities. The AMLE Foundation supports this mission through The Successful Middle School Grant that provides funding for educators engaged in promising, research-based practices that fulfill one or more of the 18 Characteristics of Successful Middle Schools.

The 18 characteristics are grouped by three overarching categories: 

Leadership and Organization
“If we are to build the real middle level school, the school that is developmentally responsive and intellectually vigorous, it will take convictions and the courage to carry them out.” – Dr. John H. Lounsbury
Culture and Community
“Middle school educators purposefully foster a culture that sustains the dignity of all members within the school community. This includes students, their families, local community members, and the staff who work within the school. Affirming classroom communities, whether physical or virtual, are formed when students’ identities are valued and respected.” – Dr. Penny Bishop and Dr. Lisa Harrison

Prior to applying for this grant, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the 18 Characteristics so that you can accurately select one to two corresponding characteristics that your proposal most closely addresses.


The AMLE Foundation Fund is looking for projects that are innovative, proliferate the middle school model, and might be able to be replicated by other schools. Interested applicants might look to the AMLE Schools of Distinction or the Successful Middle School Mini PD Library for inspiration. Examples of program topics might include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Innovative middle school scheduling approaches
  • An advisory program redesign or expansion
  • A novel approach to student voice/leadership
  • A program that creatively meets student mental health needs

The recipients of this grant will receive funds up to $5000 to introduce a new initiative or expand/enhance an existing project.


Any school, staff member, or team that is a member of AMLE as of the application deadline is eligible to apply.


Applications should be submitted in completed format. Only fully complete applications will be reviewed by the selection committee.

The deadline to apply is May 1, 2024. Applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision by June 15.


At the end of the grant year the recipients will be required to submit an evaluation report to AMLE as well as share their initiative, project, or program with AMLE’s broader membership. This can be accomplished through a variety of opportunities, including a presentation at the AMLE Annual Conference, hosting a webinar for AMLE members, contributing an article to the Focus on the Middle member newsletter, and/or contributing a video for AMLE’s Successful Middle School Mini PD Library.

Should the recipients wish to present their initiative at the AMLE Annual Conference, they will receive one complimentary registration to attend the event.