The Successful Middle School: This We Believe

AMLE’s landmark position paper, The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, now available in its fifth edition, is recognized as the best articulation of the middle school concept.

Since it was first published in 1982, This We Believe has grown from a single document into a comprehensive program that educators, schools, and districts can adopt to help ensure student success. Explore the five essential attributes and 18 characteristics of successful middle grades schools, and design the professional development program that works best for your school community.

PDF Successful Middle School Attributes and Characteristics (color)

PDF Successful Middle School Attributes and Characteristics (b&w)

PDF Comparison of the Essential Attributes and Characteristics between the 4th and 5th editions


The Successful Middle School Program

Find inspiration and build your own school-wide professional development plan through The Successful Middle School program. The program comes with a menu of tools and resources to choose from, many of which are free of cost or significantly reduced for AMLE school members, including:

    Individual Professional Learning

    • Order Your Text: The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, print and digital editions. (special bulk pricing for members)
    • Online Courses: Allow your educators to dig into the Essential Attributes and Characteristics of the Successful Middle School on their own schedule with self-paced online courses, while earning up to 5 contact hours (free to AMLE members)

    Group Professional Learning

    • Book Study: Explore the text as a team with The Successful Middle School book study and supplemental worksheets (free to AMLE members)
    • Template PD Resources: Template professional development presentations and discussion guides will be available to present the essential attributes and characteristics of a successful middle grades school to your team (free to AMLE members)

    School or District-wide Improvement

    • The Successful Middle School Toolkit: The School Improvement Assessment: A holistic self-assessment that will help your team gauge your school’s implementation of middle grades best practices. (significantly discounted for AMLE school members)
    • The Successful Middle School Coaching Program: The Successful Middle School coaching program: Engage AMLE’s expert faculty to help you conduct your School Improvement Assessment, design an ongoing professional development program that’s right for your school, and provide key coaching to help you make measurable change

Learn More About The Successful Middle School

An Overview of The Successful Middle School: This We Believe
Presenters: Drs. Penny A. Bishop and Lisa M. Harrison

The Successful Middle School: This We Believe and Teaching Middle Level Students
Presenter: Rick Wormeli



The Successful Middle School Philosophy: Making it Come Alive At Your School
Presenter: Rick Wormeli

Student Voice Contest Winners