Sunset Ridge wins National Blue Ribbon Schools award

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Sunset Ridge Elementary, 8686 Airport Road, was one of eight Wisconsin schools to be named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools award winner on Friday morning.

Sunset Ridge is the second school in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District to be honored since the program began in 1982. Middleton High School won in 2005. Nearly 7,000 schools in the United States have received the honor, including 269 this year.

“It is such an honor to have Sunset Ridge Elementary School recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School,’’ Principal Todd Mann said. “We have wonderful students who come to school ready to learn and very supportive, caring and involved parents. Our teachers and staff members are outstanding and focused on the educational success of every child. By working together and supporting each other, we have a positive and effective learning community for our students.’’

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized the schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.  Secretary Duncan was joined by Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy for the announcement at Arlington Traditional Elementary School in Arlington, Va.

The Department will honor approximately 219 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.  Schools also receive a plaque and a flag signifying their status as a Blue Ribbon School. Mann and reading specialist Jessica Block will represent Sunset Ridge at the ceremony.

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said in a statement. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers.  Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors 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 achievement. The categories are:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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

The other state schools honored were: Arena Elementary, Doudna Elementary in Richland Center, Jerstad-Agerholm Elementary in Racine, J.F. Kennedy Elementary in Junction City, Magee Elementary in Genesee Depot, Nasonville Elementary in Marshfield and Rockfield Elementary in Germantown.

 “Congratulations. Only a few schools in the nation receive Blue Ribbon honors each year,” State Superintendent Evers said in a statement. “This award recognizes that staff members at these schools work with their communities to help all students achieve at high levels so they are prepared to graduate from high school ready for college and career.”

To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requests nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 417 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.