Preface Exactly twenty years ago we producedThe Essential Middle School,a text that served as a guide to thousands of schools as they developed programs for preadolescents. Early middle schools featured a variety of innovations such as team teaching, block scheduling, and interdisciplinary units, and our book served as a guide to schools trying to implement such ideas. Today the middle school organization is the dominant form of intermediate education in America, and there is more sophistication in communication among educators in the middle grades. The organizational tasks called for twenty years ago have essentially been completed in most schools. Not yet completed, however, is the promise of early middle schools to serve each preadolescent learner as an individual and to recognize his or her specialness as a person in transition. The New American Middle Schoolhas been written because something dramatic and wonderful has occurred in the area of teaching and learning. The Internet and other interactive learning technologies now present middle school educators with the opportunity to complete the mission of the American middle school. Educators now have the tools to reach and teach each child as an individual. Intermediate education in the United States is about to take its third step (junior high, middle school, new middle school), and this book is designed to help middle school leaders make that transition. We believe that middle schools in the 21st century will be distinctively and qualitatively different from those of the late 20th century. Additionally, we believe that teachers will emerge as the critical change agents in making this "sea change" from a traditional to a more distributive form of learning. NEW TO THIS EDITION This edition introduces many new ideas and techniques for approaching the change to a technological middle school. Indeed, the book itself introduces a novel format that starts to bridge the "book-to-Internet" chasm. Throughout the text, you will find websites that enhance or expand on the print messages. There is a strong attempt to put you in touch with active and technological middle school models around the nation. Discussions of the changing role of the teacher in middle schools is pervasive in this text. Specific areas in which you will find new ideas include Significant treatment of how middle schools must act to respond to the standards-based expectations found in so many states Goals for 21st century middle school students A major research-based rationale that supports middle grades learning and middle school organization Identification and discussion of new instructional learning resources for teachers and students in terms of classroom applications A greater emphasis on how middle schools must act to respond to the complexities of 21st century life in the United States A primary focus throughout the text on new technologies and how their application can change the face of learning in today's middle schools A complete definition offull-service schoolsand the necessary response to IDEA legislation for children with special needs Extensive and practical appendixes to lead you to resources Websites in both the text and appendixes to assist you in utilizing web-based resources relevant to middle school education Completely updated bibliographic references and suggested learning activities to reflect the real world of the modern middle school In summary,The New American Middle Schoolseeks to arm teachers and other leaders with practical suggestions as they make the transition to the new technological era. Practical and relevant ideas characterize the new topics. Acknowledgements The authors deeply appreciate the editorial guidance of Debbie Stollenwork of Prentice Hall as well as the editorial services of Linda ZuWiles, Jon is the author of 'New American Middle School Educating Preadolescents in an Era of Change', published 2000 under ISBN 9780130144935 and ISBN 0130144932.