New Rockford Transcript - Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

New Rockford-Sheyenne Elementary named 2019 Blue Ribbon School

 

September 30, 2019

State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler applauded New Rockford-Sheyenne Elementary School and Harwood Elementary School on Thursday for being honored as North Dakota's two national "Blue Ribbon Schools" for 2019.

"This is an exceptional achievement for two of our best rural schools," Baesler said. "This honor highlights the great teaching and learning that is going on in these schools, and across our state.

"Reaching Blue Ribbon status is an extraordinary honor, and we have been fortunate to have eight of our North Dakota schools recognized in the past three years," Baesler added. "Becoming a national Blue Ribbon School takes a great deal of work and effort, and the teachers and administrators at Harwood and New Rockford-Sheyenne elementary schools worked as teams, and rose to the occasion."

The Department of Education recognizes schools in which students reach exceptional levels of academic achievement or record substantial improvements in their learning. Harwood and New Rockford-Sheyenne were honored as "exemplary high performing schools."

Natalie Becker, principal of New Rockford-Sheyenne Elementary, said the Blue Ribbon honor "lifts you up a little bit, and makes you know that our work matters."

"That was pretty incredible to me, just to think, we're really doing some neat things here," Becker said. "When you have a team that you connect with, and collaborate with, and really work together in a learning community, that is important.

"We're having some great success, and I really think that starts with the culture of community, and a love of learning from the teachers to the students," Becker continued. "I think there's great things yet to come, and we are on the right track."

To be considered as a Blue Ribbon School, a school must complete a comprehensive application. Becker and Jerry Standifer, principal of Harwood Elementary, said the process was a "team effort" by the staffs of their schools. "Teamwork, and everybody coming together to contribute," Standifer said.

"It is a really good feeling that yes, what we have been doing is going well, and to be recognized for it is really great," Standifer said. "It really is a family environment here. We have a really great culture where everybody is in it for all the kids."

The application asks about each school's strategies for challenging students to develop their potential, and how its administrators and teachers encourage students' families to be involved in school.

Schools are asked to provide student demographic information; test results; curriculum information; student attendance rates; the number of teachers, paraprofessionals and school support personnel; information about students with disabilities; and how many students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

Becker and Standifer said they regarded the Blue Ribbon distinction as a starting point for additional progress.

"We're never done. We're never where we want to be," Standifer said. "There is always continuous improvement we can make in this field as educators, to our professional growth and to our student growth."

doing is going well, and to be recognized for it is really great," Standifer said. "It really is a family environment here. We have a really great culture where everybody is in it for all the kids."

The application asks about each school's strategies for challenging students to develop their potential, and how its administrators and teachers encourage students' families to be involved.

Schools are asked to provide student demographic information; test results; curriculum information; student attendance rates; the number of teachers, paraprofessionals and school support personnel; information about students with disabilities; and how many students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

Becker and Standifer said they regarded the Blue Ribbon distinction as a starting point for additional progress.

"We're never done. We're never where we want to be," Standifer said. "There is always continuous improvement we can make in this field as educators, to our professional growth and to our student growth."

The school district issued the following press release on Friday, after press time for the print edition.

On September 26, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 362 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019. The New Rockford-Sheyenne Elementary School is one of two schools in North Dakota honored with this award. This recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

"We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. "As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning."

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. “We continue to work with our stakeholders to ensure that our school develops a trusting, progressive school environment, ensuring that our graduates are choice ready for their futures,” states New Rockford-Sheyenne School District Superintendent Jill Louters.

Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools. On Nov. 14 - 15, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“The students and staff truly deserve this award. We strive to do our best, working together as a community of learners. We support each other and believe in trying new ways of learning and teaching to help make all of us better each and every day,” reflected elementary principal Natalie Becker. This excitement was reflected in the classroom yesterday as one 4th grade commented, “I was so happy and excited when we found out because we are a good school and we have super good teachers!”

For more information regarding the district’s initiatives related to personalized learning, visit the district website at: [email protected]

 
 

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