Burton Street Elementary School was abuzz with excitement the morning of Sept. 7, as district officials were informed the school was recognized as a 2012 Blue Ribbon School by United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award highlights both 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. A total of 269 schools were recognized nationwide this year, with 50 of those schools being private institutions.
“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “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.”
Burton Street Elementary School was nominated for the award as an “exemplary high performing school” by the New York State Department of Education, as it is currently ranked among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments. The school will be formally recognized during a ceremony on Nov. 12 and 13 in Washington D.C. Representatives from each school will receive a National Blue Ribbon Schools plaque and a flag to signify the status.
“I am very proud to share that Burton Street Elementary School has been designated as a Blue Ribbon School. It is both an honor and privilege to receive such high recognition,” said Principal Mary-Ann MacIntosh. “This is a reflection of the continuous efforts by the entire staff that come to school each day with a mission to not only improve student achievement but enhance the lives of our children.”
Burton Street was one of 20 schools from New York state to be honored this year, and the only school to be recognized from Central New York.
About a dozen of CNY schools, spanning Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga, Oswego and Madison counties, have received the honor since 1982. Cazenovia Junior-Senior High School was named a Blue Ribbon School during the 1988-89 school year.
“This is truly an affirmation of the good work at Burton Street Elementary. The teachers, staff and the recently-retired for their dedication and hard work,” said Cazenovia Central School District Superintendent Bob Dubik. “People tend to think about the accomplishments of high school, because of graduation, but the foundation and the hard work really beings at the elementary school.”
The Blue Ribbon Program is regarded as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s larger effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about the best school leadership and teaching practices. During the ensuing celebrations on Friday, Sept. 8, Congressman Bill Owens joined in and congratulated the school, commending the educators’ success in helping students achieve.
“[This] announcement is a testament to the good work being done in many New York schools,” Owens said. “I congratulate the teachers, administrators, parents and students at Burton Street Elementary for their significant efforts to earn this award.”
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.