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Four Kansas elementary schools named 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools

Four Kansas elementary schools have been designated 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona announced Tuesday, Sept. 19. 

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in striving for – and attaining – exemplary achievement, according to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. 

There were 353 schools across the country designated as 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools, including the four in Kansas. 

Kansas schools that received the designation are Valley Heights Elementary School, Valley Heights Unified School District 498; Lakeside Elementary School, Waconda USD 272; Edgerton Elementary School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231; and Roesland Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512. 

The Blue Ribbon program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools in one of two performance categories: Exemplary High Performing and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing. Schools are recognized on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates. 

Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among the state’s highest-performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students.  

Schools nominated for the Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools must complete an extensive narrative application describing their school culture, philosophy, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, professional development, leadership structures and parent and community involvement. 

In the Exemplary High-Performing Category, schools are recognized for being among the state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.  

All Kansas schools were recognized in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category. 

Now in its 40th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has presented about 10,000 awards to more than 9,700 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. 

In Kansas, 145 (137 public and eight private schools) have been designated as National Blue Ribbon Schools since the program’s inception in 1983. 

This is the second time Valley Heights Elementary, Lakeside Elementary and Roesland Elementary schools have been designated National Blue Ribbon Schools. 

Valley Heights Elementary School first received the designation in 2018. The school serves 251 students in pre-K through sixth grade. 

“Since receiving the Blue Ribbon Award in 2018, there has been a renewed focus on continuing student success and well-being,” Valley Heights Elementary School staff members wrote in their application. 

Roesland Elementary School received its first designation in 1994. Shawnee Mission USD 512 has had 14 schools receive the designation since 1983. 

“I am tremendously proud of Roesland Elementary School,” Principal Kelly Swift said in a news release. “I am so fortunate to be in a position to see how our staff, families and students work together to achieve success every day. I am thrilled that the extraordinary qualities that make our school such a wonderful place to learn are being recognized at the national level.” 

Roesland Elementary serves more than 350 students in Roeland Park. It opened as a one-room schoolhouse in 1873. 

“This is absolutely something to celebrate across our entire Shawnee Mission community,” Shawnee Mission Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard said. “This award considers many aspects of the school, including student engagement, culture and academics. Roesland’s excellence in every area shines through. We are so proud of Roesland and all of the work students, families and staff have done to ensure high levels of learning for every student daily and an overall outstanding student experience.” 

Lakeside Elementary received the designation in 2010 as Lakeside Intermediate School.  

“Our staff understand the significance of educating the whole child,” Lakeside Elementary School personnel wrote in the school’s application. “Our focus is not only on the academic rigor but also on social-emotional skills.” 

Lakeside Elementary serves 159 students in pre-K through fifth grade. 

This is the first time Edgerton Elementary School has received the National Blue Ribbon Schools designation. However, Gardner Edgerton USD 231 has had schools honored in 2011, 2016 and 2017. 

An assembly to honor the 147 students and 40 staff members at Edgerton Elementary School will take place in the coming weeks, according to the Edgerton USD 231 website.  

“This national honor fills us with immense pride, validating Edgerton Elementary stakeholders’ dedication to their roles – ensuring the success of every student,” Edgerton USD 231 Superintendent Dr. Brian Huff said. “This, ultimately, is the essence of our purpose. We couldn’t be more proud of the Edgerton Elementary staff, students and community for this accomplishment, yet everyone should be reminded that the honor is actually a reflection of every school in our district.” 

The U.S. Department of Education invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education officials in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. Up to 420 public and private schools may be nominated each year. 

Posted: Sep 21, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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