About MMGW


About MMGW

During the 1990s, states concentrated educational efforts on the “bookends” of schooling — early childhood education and high school graduation requirements. At the same time, the middle grades languished into patterns of lagging achievement, unfocused academic programs, unprepared teachers and insufficient instructional leadership and resources. 

SREB recognized that, to improve graduation rates, schools needed to improve students’ readiness for high school. In the late 1990s, SREB began researching the critical issues facing middle grades and defined a number of actions that states, districts and schools can take to improve student performance in the middle grades. 

The result of this research was the Making Middle Grades Work (MMGW) school improvement design, the nation’s first large-scale effort to engage state, district and school leaders in partnerships with teachers, students, parents and the community to raise student achievement in the middle grades. The network has grown to include more than 350 middle grades sites in 19 states. 

MMGW assists middle grades schools to implement the essential elements in the comprehensive improvement framework by creating key conditions that support improved academic achievement and by developing readiness indicators for students exiting the middle grades. As school sites identify the help they need to implement the framework, SREB links them to specific professional development resources. The program’s workshops, school visits and Middle Grades Assessment are vital tools for educators. 


Middle Grades STEM Courses
Spark discovery with project-based STEM courses for middle grades students.

Skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are essential to many of today’s jobs, but too many students lack opportunities to explore these jobs and understand the academic skills, credentials and degrees needed to secure them.

Early learning experiences are the key to introducing students to rewarding STEM degrees and careers. In a 2011 survey of students and parents commissioned by Microsoft, nearly four in five STEM college students said they decided to study STEM in high school or earlier; one in five decided in the middle grades or earlier.