For the first time since last July, a middle school mastered more words than any other school in North America, signaling a shift in Bowl momentum.

After nine straight monthly wins by high schools, McAuliffe Middle School's 6th, 7th and 8th graders mastered 59,918 words in May to earn their first Vocabulary Bowl Champion title. The Eagles' winning total is the highest amount ever earned in the first month of the off-season, and the second-highest off-season monthly total in the history of the Bowl.

Although this is the first overall Vocabulary Bowl win for McAuliffe, they're not what you'd consider novices in the word-learning competition where over 41,000 schools across North America vie for vocabulary victory. The Eagles have previously ranked in the overall monthly Top 10 six times, and finished the 2017 - 2018 season ranked 3rd in the Middle School Division and 19th on the overall leaderboards.

What's behind their big accomplishment? In addition to the students' hard work, there's a dedicated team of teachers who are committed to vocabulary improvement as a means to achieving the larger goal: improved literacy skills. And as is often the case in top Bowl schools, this commitment isn't just in the ELA department;  in fact, many of the staff members at McAuliffe who have the most active classes on are history teachers. Another key to the Eagles' success is the breadth of their staff's commitment. This season, more than a dozen teachers consistently integrated vocabulary instruction with their curriculum, which made word-learning an everyday expectation that propelled their school up the leaderboard standings.

Congratulations to McAuliffe Middle School for their May Vocabulary Bowl win. The Eagles will receive a hang-in-the-gym-worthy banner to display alongside the one they just received as a 2017 - 2018 Top 5 Middle School. They're definitely on our "Schools to Watch List" as a serious contender for the Middle School Division Champion title in next year's Bowl.

It's never too late to get your school involved in the Vocabulary Bowl. We award Champions Banners all year long, and many schools "get their game on" in the summer months. With county, state and division leaderboards where your school can vie for the top each day, week and month, there's a level of competition that's right for every school. Here's how your students can master words for your school in the Vocabulary Bowl.