BY BARRY WARNER
United States Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr. has designated Nanuet Senior High School as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2016. The school, which serves 713 students from 9th to 12th grade, is being recognized as an ‘Exemplary High Performing School’ measured by performance on assessments referenced against national norms. It is the first Rockland County High School to be represented and is among 329 public and private elementary, middle and high schools recognized by the Department of Education for overall academic excellence this year.
Nanuet School District Superintendent Dr. Mark S. McNeill said, “Being selected as a Blue Ribbon School is an incredible honor. The exemplary performance as a high school would not be possible without the commitment of such a professional group of faculty members, a committed contingency of parents and diligent students.”
According to the National Blue Ribbon website, the award has been given out since 1982, evaluating student achievement with measurable characteristics that help identify not only high achievers, but also those schools that have achieved despite difficult odds. Each school that is given the honor of a Blue Ribbon Award shares several key characteristics:
It has administrators and teachers who are dedicated to high standards of learning for all students.
It engages in data collection and analysis to determine the efficiency of instruction and assessment.
It has students who demonstrate academic excellence.
It undertakes professional development and stays at the forefront of best practices.
The Blue Ribbon Award celebrates the idea that all students, regardless of background, ability or location deserve an excellent education. To be eligible, public schools must demonstrate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for at least 3 consecutive years, including the year in which the school is nominated for the award. It must score at the highest performance level on tests referenced by the national norms in the most recent year tested. This means that the school must rank in the top 15 percent of all schools on state assessments in both reading and math. Each subgroup of students at the school must also be in the top 40 percent on state assessments. The high school must have a graduation rate that ranks in the top 15 percent of all schools in their state, in order to be considered a high performing school.
Principal Dr. Vincent Carella said, “This Blue Ribbon Award means so much to the school district and parents that Nanuet High School has been designated as a high performing school. The recognition was based on our 100 percent graduation rate, scores on assessment tests and professional leadership.”
Senior Allison Hansen stated, “We are one big family at the high school and it is a great honor for the staff and students to be recognized on a national level.”
Senior Carlos Prats indicated, “It is great that we obtained national recognition, which says volumes about the education we have received.”
Board of Education President Dr. Sarah Chauncey said, “This honor is recognition of the thoughtful strategic planning and continuous improvement our district has embraced during the past several years.”
The National Blue Ribbon of Distinction serves a number of different purposes. First, it identifies the highest achieving schools in the country using standards that correctly interpret student performance and improvement. Second, the program makes criteria available to all schools to help them evaluate their current status and find appropriate places for improvement. Finally, the National Blue Ribbon Program facilitates the exchange of information between the award-winning schools and those looking for solutions to their own obstacles. The recognition some schools receive stimulates the effort of other schools to achieve high standards as well. Because proven programs are shared among all schools, lower achieving institutions have models to help them raise their own bar and vie for the award in subsequent academic years.
The U.S. Department of Education will honor 279 public plus 50 private schools during a special award ceremony on November 7th and 8th in Washington , D.C. A community celebration of Nanuet High School’s national honor will take place during the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:30pm.
For additional information about the community celebration, call Nanuet High School at (845) 627-9800.