Years of hard work have paid off for Shields Elementary – one of three Delaware schools recently given a National Blue Ribbon Award.
"Shields Elementary is honored and excited to receive a National Blue Ribbon Award,” said Principal Jennifer Nauman. “The staff, students, and families have all worked together to create an environment that focuses on each individual child to ensure they are succeeding both academically and socially. I have known from the second I walked into Shields just over three years ago that we were one of the very best schools in the nation, and now it is official."
A total of 286 schools nationwide were recognized as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Besides Shields, Allen Frear Elementary School in Caesar Rodney School District and the Charter School of Wilmington earned blue ribbon distinction for Delaware.
“Congratulations to the educators, students and families whose hard work is being recognized nationally,” Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “As we work together across the state to ensure every child graduates from our public schools with the skills and knowledge he or she needs to be ready for college and career, we can learn from these examples of success.”
Cape Henlopen Superintendent Robert Fulton agreed that hard work paid off for Shields.
“It's a culture of excellence,” he said. “Everyone does a great job. Not just adminstration or teachers, but parents as well.”
Nauman said Shields was nominated by the Delaware Department of Education, and Shields staff completed an intense application for the award. In November, Nauman said she plans to attend an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., for the winners.
The blue ribbon award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant improvements in students’ levels of achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students. 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. In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has awarded nearly 7,500 of America’s schools, according to a press release issued by the Delaware Department of Education.
“Excellence in education matters, and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories, the release states. 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 national 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 national tests.
A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.