This is a big thing, not many schools across the country can say that they have received the National Blue Ribbon, however, U. S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized Bloom-Vernon Elementary among the 362 schools as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2019. The recognition is based on the overall academic performance and progress of Bloom-Vernon Elementary in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning,” said DeVos.
The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools. On November 14th and 15th, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Marc Kreischer, Superintendent of Bloom-Vernon Schools stated, “We are extremely proud of the students and staff at Bloom-Vernon Elementary for being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. Our entire district staff works hard to educate and nurture students academically, socially, and emotionally every day.” He also said, “We try to teach kids to the highest standard, we’ve always done that, so I think as the standards changed, it did not affect us as much as what are we teaching and we’ve always tried to teach kids to the highest level possible and that’s what’s expected and as the tests got harder, our kids are used to it. It’s not about the tests, it’s more about what we are teaching and how we are teaching it, credit to our teachers, but that’s what they have always done.”
The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:
- Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
- Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.
“Receiving the National Blue Ribbon School award to recognize the greatness that occurs within the walls of Bloom-Vernon Elementary is a high honor in education,” stated Blooom-Vernon Elementary Principal, Sandy Smith. “We’re all ecstatic to say the least. There is something special at Bloom-Vernon Elementary, and it is often said by those who enter that it can be felt when you walk inside the doors. It is a special place. Our teachers want to work here, our kids want to come here.”
Smith told of how on Thursday, they were not allowed to tell anyone about this award until 1:00 p.m., they were very strict about that. She said they brought the teachers in and ‘rolled out the red carpet’ they had cake and punch, they made it a big deal. They then played the video by DeVos and as she went through the list, they were cheering when she announced Bloom-Vernon Elementary. Both Smith and Kreischer said that then they gathered all the kids together and they cheered and started dancing, but the dancing didn’t start until they told them that they were all getting blue snowcones. Smith also said that they had some of their students at the Tim Horton Camp and they shared with them a video of the great news of the Blue Ribbon and that those teachers and students were having blue punch there at the camp to celebrate.
Kreischer added about why it is such an exciting thing, “When you get recognized nationally, it is the highest honor you can have as far as a school goes. Bloom-Vernon received this award for their state’s highest performing schools by state assessment.
Smith wanted some of her teachers to get to speak about the award and why they think Bloom-Vernon Elementary received this award.
Third-grade teacher, Kim Rice said that when they have something going on, that they there at the Elementary, always ask what is best for the kids, so she said, her first thought about this was, “What’s best for kids, is what’s happening here. We meet kids where they are.” She went on to explain of how they there at Bloom-Vernon Elementary they work really hard to make sure all of their kids can read and that when a kid moves into their district that cannot read, they meet them where they are and begin teaching them there. Rice spoke of her classroom and how they don’t mention the word test but say things like spell-abration, and things like that to help them feel more comfortable about the things they are expected to learn. Rice said that there at Bloom-Vernon things like this happen because they have had some great administrators now and before now, that have supported them and helped them achieve the goals they have reached.
Fifth-grade teacher, Angie Baker said, “Why we are successful, even though we have good test scores, that’s not our true focus, I think it’s the by-product of taking care of the kids first and making sure they are happy and fed, clothed and have shoes. Make sure they have their school supplies and if all that’s taken care, then the other stuff kind of falls into place and they can learn. As far as learning, our kids can read, I can’t teach social studies if a kid can’t read and that is what makes our school so successful. It makes a big difference.”
Sixth-grade teacher Trena Stewart quickly said why she thinks they received the blue ribbon, “Kids are first, bottom line, we treat our kids just like family and we provide morning mal, after school mall, clothing shoes, extra food and when you meet all those needs, the kids know we care. We’ve always said that Webster is special and now we have that little bit of recognition. We don’t really toot our horns, and it just happens. Another thing is, we have high expectations and we use the same rubric and that way they know what is expected on a daily basis. There are no surprises and they know we care.”
Fourth-Grade teacher, Maggie Howe said, “At first, I think we’re successful because of positive relationships we build with our kids is first and foremost and that’s probably our strong point. We get kids that just work hard for us just because of the relationships we build. I think administration is huge and their support, they do anything they can to help us to make sure we succeed to make sure our students succeed. I think kids know that we care about them and that we are about more than just a test score.”
Assistant Principal Adam Howe, who has been assistant for four and one half years said about the whole things, “Just excitement, when telling our teachers and it was neat to see our teachers and kids be recognized at a National Level. Both Sandy and I see the great things that happen in the classrooms every day and we know we have a great staff, we know how hard our students work and now it’s just great the see them recognized. It was great to see how excited our staff was.”
The consensus seemed to be from the teachers and administrators, that the kids at Bloom-Vernon have been assured that they are care for and about by everyone there and how that makes them different from other schools and how that makes them see success in the classroom. Congratulations to Bloom-Vernon Elementary for a job well done.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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