California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II

About Taking Center Stage — Act II (TCSII)

What is TCSII?

Taking Center Stage—Act II (TCSII): Ensuring Success and Closing the Achievement Gap for All of California’s Middle Grades Students promotes, illustrates, and supports the concepts embedded in the California Department of Education’s (CDE) 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success. Created specifically for middle grades educators, the Web portal delivers developmentally responsive and research-based practices through videos, professional learning activities, and best practice vignettes focused on the young adolescent.

Brain research and adolescent development-related information are also featured in TCSII. Research has shown that the human brain experiences a growth spurt during the young adolescent years that enables the brain to be highly receptive to learn new information and skills. This provides an inspiring opportunity for middle grades teachers to take advantage of their students' optimum capacity to learn.

TCSII’s origins reach back to 1987 with the seminal report, Caught in the Middle: Educational Reform for Young Adolescents in California Public Schools. In 2000, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Middle Grades Task Force published a sequel, Taking Center Stage, this time focusing on standards, assessment, and accountability. Taking Center Stage—Act II (TCSII) further refines that focus with the CDE’s 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success, which were developed in collaboration with the California Middle Grades Alliance and designed to ensure success for all middle grades students.

TCSII highlights developmentally appropriate strategies for turning California’s middle grades schools into centers of academic excellence and meaningful learning—the cornerstones for closing the achievement gap. Take a moment to view an informative welcome from Jack O’Connell, (former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2003-2010), and watch the “Adolescents, You and TCSII” video created to provide an overview about the unique characteristics of young adolescents, and the talented, caring adults who teach them. The video also includes a short tour of the features of the TCSII portal. Then, read about “TCSII: The Next Generation: Taking Middle Grades Improvement to the Next Level” and access the document: “Historical Perspective: Setting the Stage for California's Middle School Reform Movement" to obtain information regarding the middle grades reform movement.

For your convenience, we have also provided a link to a PDF of Taking Center Stage, published by CDE in 2001. Finally, take a look at the “Acknowledgements” which includes a list of the names of the many individuals responsible for making TCSII a reality!

Obtain this additional information by accessing the following links:

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