Until this evening, I had not heard of the Blue Ribbon Schools program.
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior in their state or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement.
Each year since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals. Using standards of excellence evidenced by student achievement measures and the characteristics known from research to epitomize school quality, the Department celebrates schools that beat the odds.
I’m happy to say that I learned about it by arriving at my son’s elementary school for his student-led conference (with teachers available to answer any questions), and saw BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL on the sign in front of the school. (If I read our local paper every day I would have learned about this honor three weeks ago, but instead I get a daily email listing a few prominent headlines, and go read the articles at the paper’s website if one interests me.)
When discussions of public schools come up at WorldMagBlog, I sometimes point out that my sons go to good public schools. And usually someone else comments – rather derisively – that most people think their own local public schools are good, it’s just so many other schools that are bad. Well, I can’t marshal facts to argue that point because I’ve only lived in seven school districts in my life, and attended, or had my sons attend, twelve schools. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.
Some were better than others, of course. My sons would have received an adequate education in any of them, but might not have been challenged as we would have liked. And I don’t know how many of them would deal as well with students with autism as the schools here do. My husband has firmly stated that even if he were offered a job elsewhere, we are not taking Al out of this district at least until he finishes fifth grade (at which time he has to change schools anyway).
My son’s teacher told me how proud he is that my son was chosen as a student council representative for his class. It says something both about my son, willing to take on this new responsibility, and the class, willing to elect a special needs student to represent them. And I think that must say something about the teachers and the school as well.
But now I don’t have to go just by anecdotal evidence to say my son goes to a good school. McKinley being chosen this year as one of 304 Blue Ribbon Schools in the country says it for me.