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The second edition of the Middle School Matters Field Guide is a collection of research-based principles, practices, and strategies deemed essential for middle school success. All recommendations are based on rigorous research conducted in the middle grades over the past 15 years.

Who should use the field guide?

All middle grade educators can use the field guide, including principals, administrators, counselors, instructional coaches, teachers, and interventionists.

What content areas and grade levels are addressed?

The field guide principles and practices apply to all content areas (including science and social studies) and apply to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders (including students who are learning English).

How do educators use the field guide?

The field guide contains examples and illustrations for each recommended practice to help educators understand and then implement these practices in their classrooms and schools. Additional implementation support can be found in our Instructional Toolkits.

If you have any questions about the field guide or how to use it, please contact us at


The George W. Bush Institute and The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk would like to thank the many individuals who have contributed to the development of the first field guide, which provided the basis for this updated second edition.