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Winston Campus Junior High Receives 2023 School of Distinction Award

WCJH AMLE Award, photos with principal and students

Community Consolidated School District 15 is proud to announce that Winston Campus Junior High School (WCJH) has been selected as one of 11 schools internationally – and the only school in Illinois – to receive the prestigious 2023 School of Distinction award from the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE). 

“The Board of Education joins me in congratulating the entire WCJH family for their hard work and deep dedication to the unique needs of adolescent students as they collaborated on this journey. As we begin the transition from junior high to middle schools through our Moving 15 Forward initiatives, WCJH will serve as an inspirational model for our other schools to strive for,” shared Dr. Laurie Heinz, Superintendent of Schools. “We could not be more proud of them for leading the way not only here in District 15, but throughout our state and internationally as well,” she added.

AMLE’s Schools of Distinction program recognizes exemplary schools while supporting 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 41st year of publication.

To garner the award, key staff members at Winston Campus completed a robust review process that measured their implementation of middle grades best practices and continuous improvement plans. WCJH also underwent a series of stakeholder interviews that included the perspectives of staff, students, and families as part of the rigorous selection process. 

AMLE highlighted a number of exemplary practices found at WCJH: 

  • A school environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and affirming for all.

  • School safety is addressed proactively, justly, and thoughtfully.

  • Health, wellness, and social-emotional competence are supported in curricula, school-wide programs, and related policies.

  • Professional learning for all staff is relevant, long-term, and job-embedded. 

  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships. 

According to Principal Martín DaCosta, “The Winston Campus community is incredibly lucky to have staff members who always go above and beyond to meet the needs of our adolescent learners. We are incredibly proud of this recognition, and it serves as a testament to the dedication of our staff and the efforts our students put forth inside and outside of our classrooms every day. AMLE is the premier organization for middle school educators, and it is humbling for them to look towards Winston Campus and District 15 and recognize us as a School of Distinction.” 

To learn more about WCJH, please visit its Schools of Distinction Profile. The AMLE website offers more information about AMLE Schools of Distinction and The Successful Middle School Program.

wcjh students and staff