Winston Campus Junior High named an Illinois Horizon School to Watch

Palatine Community Consolidated School District 15 is proud to announce that Winston Campus Junior High School (WCJH) has been named an Illinois Horizon School to Watch by the Association of Illinois Middle-Grade Schools (AIMS), an affiliate of the Association of Middle-Level Education (AMLE).

The Association of Illinois Middle-Grade Schools works in conjunction with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform to administer the Illinois Horizon Schools to Watch Programs.

Per the AIMS Network website, “Illinois Horizon Schools to Watch demonstrate academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, organizational structures and processes designed to support a trajectory toward excellence.”

The Winston Campus Journey to becoming an AIMS School to Watch began after the school was invited to present at the AIMS summer splash conference in 2022. Following the presentation, the school was encouraged to seek more information about the Illinois Schools to Watch. V

icky Karahalios, WCJH’s bilingual school psychologist, shared, “The Climate and Culture Leadership Team worked alongside administration to put together an intensive report followed by an all staff survey and rigorous site visit. We are enthusiastic about this recognition, and opportunity to share our story as we continue to move toward becoming a middle school. Thank you to all involved, especially our WCJH family.”

The mission of WCJH is “inspiring a community of learners to believe in themselves and achieve their potential.”

Maxine Weinman, AIME teacher at WCJH, shared, “I am incredibly proud to have been part of the application writing process, highlighting the amazing work that the Winston Campus staff does each and every day to build a culture of excellence and foster a learning environment where our mission can be fulfilled. It is so exciting to see everyone’s efforts being recognized at the state and national level.”

AIMS Schools to Watch are focused on continuous school improvement. The exemplary schools identified participate in evaluations conducted by representatives from the National Forum and engage in ongoing self-evaluation using the Schools to Watch rubric. Schools are active participants in the Association of Illinois Middle-grade Schools (AIMS) networking events, present at association workshops and conferences, and provide leadership as part of the AIMS Network. Schools are recognized at the National Forum Annual Schools to Watch Conference in Washington, D.C.

The AIMS site visit team was impressed by the foundational pillars in place to further advance developmental responsiveness, social equity, and academic success.

Patience Falk, an English Language Arts teacher at WCJH, shared, “The staff at Winston Campus Junior High maintain a shared belief that all students possess an innate desire to learn and that all students can achieve academic success. Our school has been on a journey to shift our mindset, as well as our heartset, to positively affect the academic outcomes and social-emotional well-being of our students, regardless of differing linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. As we continue to strive for collective efficacy, we are confident that we are making a positive impact in the lives of our students.”

To learn more about the Illinois Horizon Schools to Watch, please visit the AIMS website at

About the Association of Illinois Middle-Grade Schools (AIMS)

The mission of the Association of Illinois Middle Grade School Network is to promote educational excellence through leadership, policy development, collaboration, and professional development. To learn more, visit

About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)

The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) is an international membership organization that helps middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. To learn more, visit

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