West Delaware High School Receives Blue Ribbon Designation
Jon Nordaas, Principal
West Delaware High School was notified in September that it has been designated by the United States Department of Education as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School. This article will address common questions regarding Blue Ribbon School designation.
What is the purpose of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program?
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of academic achievement.
How are schools nominated?
The United States Secretary of Education invites each Chief State School Officer (CSSO) to nominate those schools that meet the criteria for recognition. In submitting nominated schools, the CSSO of each state certify that the nominated schools meet the minimum requirements established by the Department and describe any other criteria used by the state to nominate the schools. States must rely on their state assessment systems to identify schools for submission to the Secretary. The nomination criteria, including assessments, must pertain equally to all schools nominated from the individual state.
How many schools in Iowa were nominated?
Based upon Iowa’s population five schools can be nominated. For 2012 three elementary and two high schools were nominated.
When was West Delaware High School nominated?
West Delaware officials were notified in November of 2011 that the director of Iowa’s Department of Education made the nomination based on West Delaware High School’s performance on Iowa Assessments given during the 2010-11 school-year.
Why was West Delaware High School nominated?
West Delaware High School was an exemplary high performing school. These are schools that are ranked among a state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics or that score at the highest performance level on tests referenced by national norms in at least the most recent year tested.
How long has National Blue Ribbon Schools Program been in effect?
Since 1982(30 years), the U.S. Department of Education's National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has honored America's most successful public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag waving overhead has become a trademark of excellence, a symbol of quality recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities.
How did West Delaware High School go from being nominated to being selected?
A lengthy process was undertaken after being nominated by the Iowa Department of Education. This process included acceptance of nomination by the U.S. Department of Education. Completion and submission of an application needed to be done by March 2, 2012. The applications were then reviewed for completeness and accuracy. Schools were then notified of any corrections or clarifications needed to the applications. Final reviews of the applications were done in May of 2012. In August of 2012 the Iowa Department of Education had to certify that West Delaware High School made Adequate Yearly Progress for 2011-12 school-year. Based upon all the collected data and information West Delaware High School was designated a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School this September.
What information was requested on the application?
The 20 page application included data collection and written responses to:
Summary data assessment results on State criterion-referenced tests for the most recent five years
Demographic data on the school and students
A narrative summary of the school and communities
A narrative on assessment(testing) results
A narrative on how the assessment results are used
A narrative on how we share program success with others
A narrative on how families and communities are engaged in the high school
A narrative on our curriculum (specifically Reading/English and Mathematics)
A narrative on instructional methods
A narrative on professional development
A narrative on school leadership
What are the benefits of being a Blue Ribbon school?
Blue Ribbon Schools are nationally recognized as some of America's most successful schools. The award acknowledges and validates the hard work of students, staff members, families, and communities in reaching high levels of student achievement. Moreover, Blue Ribbon Schools report a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment at their school. They may be sought out as mentors to others schools or may find that receiving grants and raising funds is a little easier. Communities often report that the award makes their neighborhood a more desirable place to live because parents want their children to attend a Blue Ribbon School—and real estate agents use the Blue Ribbon award as a selling point for those neighborhoods. Tangibly, each fall, representatives from all winning schools are invited to Washington, D.C. for a ceremony to celebrate their success, share information, and receive a plaque and flag to commemorate their achievement.
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