Photo by Lorie Palmer
Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna presented Prairie Elementary School students with the National Blue Ribbon Award for academic excellence Friday, Oct. 17.
As of Wednesday, October 22, 2014
COTTONWOOD The words on the wall inside Prairie Elementary School says, “Every child learning -every day.” Teachers and staff take this seriously, as was evident based on a recent award.
PES was named as a National Blue Ribbon School and honored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna last Friday, Oct. 17.
“We are here to celebrate today,” Luna told the gym full of kindergarten through sixth grade students and their teachers and staff.
Luna explained the blue ribbon award is not an easy one to obtain since it is based on the school’s academic achievements during the past five years.
“There are 711 schools in Idaho and Prairie Elementary School is the only one to earn this award,” Luna told the cheering students. “Maintaining this level of academic excellence is difficult, but thanks to great teachers, students and community, you have done it.”
Luna presented Cottonwood Joint School District 242 Superintendent Rene Forsmann with a check for $20,000 that came with the award.
“Congratulations on all your hard work,” Luna said. “It’s time to pause, celebrate, and then move on and do even better.”
Luna told students there are things they can do to “hold up your end of the bargain.”
“Keep on showing up at school, ready to learn,” he said. “And read, read, read. Read good books that make you think.”
Forsmann thanked the Prairie teachers and community for their “wonderful, continued support.” She said staff spends time analyzing data and making improvements as they go along.
“We have a staff who believes whatever it takes for each student to succeed is worth it,” she said
The money is to be used by the school to enhance their efforts to address the needs of academically at-risk students to ensure they receive a high quality education and meet the state academic standards for proficiency.
For the national award, the Idaho State Department of Education was invited to nominate an Exemplary High Performing School to the U.S. Department of Education based on student achievement data from the past five years. 287 public and 50 private schools in the United States were named as National Blue Ribbon Schools by Secretary Arne Duncan on Sept. 30.
PES has maintained an average of 95 percent of all students who have achieved Proficient or Advanced on Idaho’s statewide assessment, the Idaho Standards Achievement in reading and 93 percent in math for the last five years. PES has an average of 40-50 percent of students who are eligible for free and/or reduced lunch.
Forsmann and teacher Mrs. Holthaus from PES will be attending a recognition ceremony Nov. 10-11, in Washington, D.C. There, they will have the opportunity to network with the more than 300 other National Blue Ribbon Schools. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award to just fewer than 7,900 of America’s schools.
In addition to the ceremony, PES will be asked to present its story and share its successful strategies at the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Team’s Biennial Conference, April 15-17, 2015, in Boise.