| 13 Aug 2014 | 12:50

    Middle school can be a tough time between childhood and the teen years, when identities change, friendships shift and academics sometimes take a backseat to social life. The schools we honor this week, however, do a commendable job at ushering students through this tricky period, helping them navigate the transition to high school and adulthood. The public, private and religious schools profiled in these pages were selected with the input of our advisory board and other school insiders, and they represent just one slice of New York City?s diverse education universe. Please note: the Blackboard Awards are not a competition or ranking; our focus has always been on identifying the variety of schools where a vibrant, caring and challenging learning community thrives. By spotlighting these schools, we hope to inspire greater dialogue and positive developments throughout the city?s educational community. In the following pages, readers can also learn about five fabulous charter schools, a private school with a special devotion to diversity and an amazing ?Turnaround? school in the Bronx. As always, there are several handy charts with stats for both public and independent schools. This year, for the first time, we also included Brooklyn public schools in our round-up of honorees. Our last Blackboards installment, slated for Nov. 6, will focus on high schools?and will feature candid input from the people who have a front-row seat in the classroom: parents and students. To make sure your opinion is included, visit our website, [www.BlackboardAwards.com](http://www.BlackboardAwards.com), and take our schools survey today. ?Charlotte Eichna, Blackboard Awards Project Director

    [Manhattan?s Outstanding Public Middle School]: M.S. 167, Robert F. Wagner

    [Brooklyn?s Outstanding Public Middle School]: M.S. 447, the Math & Science Exploratory School

    [Outstanding Private Middle School]: St. Bernard?s

    [Brooklyn?s Rising Star Public Middle School]: M.S. 51, William Alexander

    [New & Noteworthy Public Middle School]: Columbia Secondary School

    for Math, Science and Engineering

    [Rising Star Religious Middle School]: Blessed Sacrament

    [Charter School Renewal]: The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning

    [Charter School Renewal]: KIPP STAR College Prep Charter School

    [Charter School Renewal]: Harlem Village Academy Charter School

    [Charter School Renewal]: Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School

    [Charter School Renewal]: Family Life Academy Charter School

    [Turnaround School]: P.S. 32

    [Diversity Citation]: Manhattan Country School

    Public Middle Schools, By the Numbers: [Download the PDF] (125.4KB)

    Independent Middle Schools, By the Numbers: [Download the PDF] (88.4KB)