Sunset Ridge nominated for Blue Ribbon Schools award

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Sunset Ridge Elementary was one of eight Wisconsin schools to be nominated for the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

Sunset Ridge is the second school in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District to be recognized since the program began in 1982. Middleton High School was nominated in 2005. More than 6,000 schools in the United States have received the honor, including 305 this past year.

"It is a great honor to have Sunset Ridge Elementary School nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Program,'' Principal Todd Mann said. "Our entire staff is committed to the achievement and success of all students in our school.  It is a very special recognition and reflects the dedication of our entire school community on behalf of our students.''

The Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes schools striving to achieve excellence. Wisconsin is allowed to nominate up to eight schools a year. To be recognized a school must fall into one of two categories:

  1. Exemplary High Performing Schools. To be eligible, schools must score in the top 15 percent on state assessments in reading and mathematics. High-performing schools also must have met the state’s adequate yearly progress objectives for the previous two years. Up to five schools nominated can come from this category.
  2. Exemplary Improving Schools. To be eligible, schools must have at least 40 percent students from disadvantaged backgrounds and must dramatically improve student performance on state assessments. At least three of the eight schools nominated must come from this category.

Sunset Ridge was nominated as a high performing school. More than 98 percent of fourth-graders at Sunset Ridge were proficient or advanced in reading and mathematics on the 2010-11 WKCE test.

“The news of Sunset Ridge Elementary School being a Blue Ribbon School nominee is exciting, but not a surprise,’’ MCPASD Superintendent Don Johnson said. “The commitment and professionalism of the entire staff is the raw material of a school of excellence.  This is great news that is attributable to a strong parent-school partnership that is developed over many years.  Congratulations to the team of educators and community that is Sunset Ridge.’’

Nominated schools must complete an application from the U.S. Department of Education by March 2 that focuses on results and scientifically based instruction. Sunset Ridge plans to begin work on the application on Jan. 17, Mann said.

The federal education department reviews applications and will announce Blue Ribbon Schools in September. Schools earning the award receive a plaque and flag signifying their status as a Blue Ribbon School. A principal and teacher also will be invited to attend a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C., in November.

“Blue Ribbon School nominees are focused on helping all students achieve at high levels,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers, who announced the nominations on Friday. “Staff members in these schools work together and with their communities to ensure all students are learning and gaining the skills they need to graduate ready for the workforce or further education.”