On September 7, 2012 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today recognized 269 schools as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.
The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
Canterbury Elementary School and Memorial School in Bedford were chosen as “Exemplary High Performing” schools and Lisbon Regional Middle School was chosen as an “Exemplary Improving” school.
“We are pleased that three of our schools were chosen to receive this honor,” said Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education, Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. “The fact that we have three award winners this year is a testament to the hard work being done by students, parents, educators, and everyone who plays a role in the education of our children. These schools represent all the excellent schools in New Hampshire that are working hard to improve achievement for all students.”
Canterbury Elementary School strives to create a respectful learning environment that offers the community diverse educational opportunities to develop lifelong learners and critical thinkers so that students will have the knowledge and skills to become responsible and productive citizens who will achieve individual success and contribute to their local and global society. They believe a child’s education is a team effort that requires the dedicated efforts of staff, students, parents and the community. The staff of CES recognizes each child as a unique individual. They strive to provide each student with the opportunities to learn, develop, and succeed to his or her fullest capacity. Canterbury Elementary goals are that through quality instruction and curriculum Canterbury students will master skills that are basic to life, develop responsible attitudes, develop a sense of self-respect, respect for those around them and display continuous academic and social growth.
Lisbon Regional Middle School (LRMS) is a small, rural school located in the White Mountains of Northern New Hampshire. This small sized and total K-12 configuration promote a family atmosphere in which everyone supports one another, providing the staff the opportunity for a great deal of vertical articulation. Teachers have the opportunity to align curriculum throughout grades K-12 to provide a smooth transition for their students as they move through Lisbon’s system. Their size also enables them to personalize learning. Students do not fall between the cracks; they know their children and closely track their behaviors and grades. They hold intervention team meetings weekly and parent meetings whenever any individual student’s grades fall or behavior is questionable. Their efforts provide them the ability to match appropriate interventions with any deficiencies. The expected result is reducing or eliminating the gap between the entire population and their subgroups of students. One accomplishment about which they are most excited is how successful they have been at moving their students out of the lowest level on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP). This upward movement adds to their already impressive percentage of students performing at the proficient level or above on the NECAPs.
Memorial School in Bedford serves 530 pre-school through fourth grade students. The Bedford community places a high degree of importance on education. Parents and community members have high expectations for student achievement and show strong support for the school system. Memorial School embraces the district mission: “To develop a community of learners who are intellectually curious, resourceful, and respectful of self and others.” Academic achievement, through constantly improving standards, is the highest priority. One of Memorial's strengths is that the students believe that they are writers, scientists, readers, mathematicians, artists, musicians, athletes, and leaders. Students are excited about learning new things and persist in working through challenging tasks. The school culture, a rigorous curriculum, excellent instruction, and strong parent involvement all contribute to student success. Strong leadership, collaboration and teamwork are integral to success at Memorial School. Innovation as well as implementation of best practices contribute to Memorial School's ability to make annual yearly progress (AYP) and for their disaggregated groups of students to consistently perform above the state average based on the NECAP test scores. Memorial celebrates its students' passion for learning and continued high levels of performance.
Each year since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds. The Blue Ribbon Schools program is part of a larger US Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. These Blue Ribbon Schools are an example of what teachers and students can achieve.
The principal and one teacher from each school are invited to celebrate the honor at an awards ceremony scheduled for Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.
For more information about this and other award/recognition programs coordinated through the Department of Education log on to www.education.nh.gov/recognition/index.htm.
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