U.S. Department of Education selects three DoDEA schools for 2017 National Blue Ribbon School Award

U.S. Department of Education selects three DoDEA schools for 2017 National Blue Ribbon School Award

by DoDEA
Stripes Okinawa

ALEXANDRIA, VA — September 28, 2017 — Three Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools were recognized today by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

Killin Elementary School at Camp Foster Marine Corps Base in Okinawa, Japan; Patch Middle School at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany; and West Point Elementary School at U.S. Army Garrison West Point in West Point, New York are among the 342 National Blue Ribbon Schools recognized. The award is based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“I would like to congratulate everyone at Killin Elementary School, Patch Middle School, and West Point Elementary School for working together to achieve The National Blue Ribbon Award recognition,” said Thomas M. Brady, DoDEA Director. "This recognition reflects the commitment of the teachers, principals, students, parents, staff, and the local communities to excellence in education and their focus on high standards and student achievement."

All schools are recognized in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student 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 subgroups and all students over the past five years.

All three DoDEA schools qualified in the high performing category.

Edward C. Killin Elementary School serves approximately 500 Sure Start through Fifth Grade culturally-diverse students from all military branches. Keeping students engaged in a safe learning environment and focused on increasing student achievement in social, emotional, and academics is valued by all. Parent/Teacher Organization events, before and after school clubs, and Open Door classroom policies allow for multiple opportunities for students to be actively involved in the school. The administrators’ vision and commitment to a schedule that allows teachers to work in partnerships and share leadership responsibilities has contributed to the transforming of “my students” to “our students” across EC Killin.

Patch Middle School embraces DoDEA’s commitment to providing students with rigorous, challenging and rewarding educational experiences. It strives to ensure that all students are treated fairly, respectfully and feel welcomed each day. Patch Middle School is designed around the collaborative teaming model and all teachers are committed to this model. Their philosophy is best articulated through their expectation that students develop as responsible young adults, who aspire to learn from challenges and grow through rigorous learning opportunities. At the same time, students engage in cultural and developmental interactions within the local community. New students are teamed with a student ambassador who assists with the peer-to-peer transition. Students are also placed into a small grade level teams and assigned an advisory family to provide the support of an educational advocate within their new learning community.

West Point Elementary School engages and motivates students and provides a positive environment that supports their academic, social, and emotional growth. They recognize that no two students are alike and differentiated learning styles are the norm. Often student-led learning activities result from interest while the teacher acts as facilitator. Student ownership of their learning is discussed in classrooms and assemblies to remind students of their role in their success. Students are also motivated to succeed through classroom awards and a Student of the Week Program. Students who achieve the schoolwide “Principal Paw Award” are recognized for both academic achievement and civic responsibility. The weekly Gold Bulldog Bone award is for the classroom that has most exemplified responsibility in the cafeteria each day. The "Morning News" show is produced and presented by students, highlights achievements and “Did You Know” questions contributed by all students.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. This coveted award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. The National Blue Ribbon Schools flag gracing a school’s building is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. National Blue Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and a model for schools still striving for excellence. A total of 420 schools may be nominated each year.

Now in its 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on fewer than 8,500 schools. On Nov. 6 and 7, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with these honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-age children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Agencies throughout the United States that serve children of military families.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools

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