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Pleasantville Middle Is a 'School to Watch'

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - A sea of white-shirted teachers and students filled the Pleasantville Middle School gym Thursday morning as it was recognized as a "School to Watch."

The program is in 15 states and highlights middle schools that display academic excellence, social equity, organization structure, and developmental responsiveness.

"New York state could have chosen any other thousands of schools, but we stood out," said eighth-grader Karina Rowe, president of the Pleasantville Middle School Student Council. "Not only do we have excellent academics, and a large number of activities, but our school is friendly and inviting."

David Payton, director of New York's School to Watch program, said Pleasantville was selected from about 1,500 qualified schools in the state. Payton said it is the 25th school in the state and 330th in the nation to receive the designation.

"You are exemplary for middle schools in New York state and across the county," Payton said, who presented the school with a banner and a plaque. "You've done what only a few schools have been able to do."

Payton and other representatives visited the school earlier in the year for an evaluation, and Pleasantville Middle School was notified of the honor on Feb. 15.

Throughout the ceremony, two representatives from each grade were invited to the podium to share why they believed Pleasantville Middle School was a school to watch.

"Being in a small town like Pleasantville we have known each other since we were in kindergarten," said seventh-grader Jack Pettus. "And ever since then there's always been someone there for us. That sense of unity and friendship is why our school is a school to watch."

Nearly every teacher, administrator and student in the school attended the assembly wearing a custom-made, student-designed t-shirt to commemorate the honor.

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