McKINNEY — Cockrill Middle School has been chosen as a Texas School to Watch® by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, an organization that identifies U.S. schools that are moving effectively toward achieving the Forum’s criteria for high performance.

The National Forum cites three fundamental characteristics common to high-performing schools: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness and social equity. Such schools challenge students to use their minds well, are sensitive to the developmental challenges of adolescence and provide every student with high quality teachers, resources and supports.

“We are honored to be selected as a Texas School to Watch,” said Dr. Amber Epperson, principal of Cockrill Middle School. “We place great emphasis on delivering excellence in all our programs and upholding a positive school climate for our students, staff and parents. We value opportunities to support our students and recognize them for academic excellence, strong character and citizenship.”

A National Forum assessment team visited Cockrill on December 9 and spent the day interviewing parents, teachers, administrators and counselors while also observing the broad range of programs available at Cockrill. Thirty students comprising two interview panels offered candid, positive feedback about their school experience. They lauded the school’s fun and engaging academic culture, the sense of safety they feel on campus and the freedom they are afforded to express themselves.

Epperson was notified on Friday, Jan. 16 that Cockrill had been chosen as a School to Watch, and the Forum will make an official, national announcement of all the newly added campuses by April 2015.

Now, Cockrill is part of a collective of current and previously selected schools who serve as mentors, coaches and facilitators for members of the Texas Schools to Watch Network.

“I am so proud that our students had such a strong voice with the selection committee and spoke so highly of our school,” said Epperson. “Our teachers care for our students individually and are committed to ‘whatever it takes’ to help them be successful. We look forward to continuing to learn and improve as we collaborate with other recipient schools, and we also look forward to serving as a model school and hosting visitors from other schools across the state.”

For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or


About McKinney ISD

One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,750 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, four alternative schools and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at