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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 28, that five Kansas schools were selected as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017 – and Gardner Edgerton School District is home to one of the five.
Gardner Elementary was nominated by the state of Kansas in January 2017, and was selected by the National Blue Ribbon Award Committee as an Exemplary High Performing School.
“It is incredible to have two schools named a Blue Ribbon in consecutive years,” said Pam Stranathan, superintendent. “This truly acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our students and staff at Gardner Elementary as well as all our other schools. We could not be more proud.”
DeVos recognized 342 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017 based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. These schools demonstrate that all students can achieve to high levels.
The department will formally recognize the 292 public and 50 private schools at an awards ceremony at the Omni Shoreham in Washington DC on Nov. 6 – 7. The 2017 cohort represent public and non-public elementary, middle and high schools, including traditional, charter, magnet schools, parochial and independent schools in 44 States, the District of Colombia and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Okinawa, Japan, Stuttgart, Germany and West Point, New York.
To be selected as an Exemplary High Performing School, the school must be in the top 15 percent of all schools in the state when schools are ranked on:
• the performance of all students who participated in the most recently administered state assessments in reading (or English language arts) and mathematics, or
• a composite index that includes these assessment results, and may also include assessment results in other subject areas and/or other student performance measures, such as attendance or graduation rates.
The school also must be in the top 40 percent of all schools in the state when schools are ranked on:
• the performance of all students in the subgroup who participated in the most recently administered state assessments in reading (or English language arts) and mathematics, or
• a composite index that includes these assessment results and may also include assessment results in other subject areas and/or other student performance measures, such as attendance or graduation rates for high schools.
In addition to meeting the above performance criteria, a nominated school must have at least 100 students enrolled and have assessment data for at least 10 students in each tested grade for both reading (or English language arts) and mathematics. States with a large percentage of schools with fewer than 100 students enrolled may include up to a similar percentage of these schools in their nominations. However, each school must have assessment data for at least 10 students in each tested grade for both reading (or English language arts) and mathematics.
One-third of the public schools nominated by each state must have enrollments that include at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds. All nominated public schools must meet the state’s performance targets in reading (or English language arts) and mathematics and other academic indicators (i.e., attendance rate and graduation rate), for the all students group and all subgroups, including having participation rates of at least 95 percent using the most recent accountability results available for nomination. In order to meet all eligibility requirements, nominated public schools must be certified by states prior to September 2017.
National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models for other schools throughout the nation, and school personnel are often sought out as mentors. Their applications are posted on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, and media eagerly profile recognized schools, helping the school, its district, and community gain additional exposure. Representatives from schools are honored at an annual awards ceremony held in Washington, DC. Each school receives an engraved plaque and program flag with the official seal, which signifies its status and the year of its award.
National Blue Ribbon Schools are public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools that are producing outstanding results for all students. They have demonstrated consistent excellence, and made progress in closing gaps in student achievement. The National Blue Ribbon Schools recognition program is part of a larger U. S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about effective school leadership and promising instructional practices. Since its inception in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized more than 7,800 Great American Schools.
Eisenhower Elementary in Junction City, Kan.; Ruth Clark Elementary in Wichita, Kan.; Sheridan Elementary in Junction City, Kan.; and Wineteer Elementary in Wichita, Kan., were the other four Kansas schools selected for the award.
Sunflower Elementary was recognized as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon Award School and Wheatridge Middle School was recognized as a 2016 National Blue Ribbon Award School. Gardner Elementary is the third school in District history to be recognized with this prestigious honor.
For more information on the National Blue Ribbon Schools, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html