Learning is constant, and time is the variable according to Ecker Hill Principal Traci Evans. Over the past two years giving students extra time has paid off.
 
In March, changes and goals made in the school earned them national recognition.

Ecker Hill became the 11th Utah School to be named a National School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle School Reforms in 14 years. The National recognition was the result of a two-year project initiated by Principal Traci Evans to put students first.

"This has been a great honor and opportunity for Ecker Hill," Evans said. "We are now among a group of high performing middle schools and we can learn from each other. I believe you can achieve greatness by working together."

The school has joined the ranks of about 380 middle schools across the country since 1999 that have met the 37 criteria required to make the list. The criteria fall into three categories: academic excellence, development responsiveness and social equality. In addition, there must be organizational structures in place to support, sustain and increase performance in those areas.

During the rigorous application process and years of preparation, Evans' staff was able to make the necessary changes to benefit the more than 700-student body.

Selected schools share their success by participating in conferences, workshops and serving as a model for visitors.


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Many different programs were initiated into the students' daily schedules to help them become their best.

Principal Evans and her faculty created different periods throughout the day students have the opportunity to catch up on work. The school is also broken down into six teams. According to Evans, this gives students the opportunity to institute a common planning time, giving students more individual attention.

Partnering with parents and having an open-door policy is also a big focus in the school's success.

In June, the school team will be traveling to Washington D.C. to be recognized by the National Forum. A school celebration is also being planned for March to honor students and faculty in their accomplishments.