Nine schools from Wisconsin win national Blue Ribbon honors

From the Department of Public Instruction

BlueRibbonSchoolsLogo_200pxState Superintendent Tony Evers congratulated eight public schools and one private school from Wisconsin that were among 335 recognized in the 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Schools are chosen for the award based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps.
Evers nominated the eight public schools earlier this year. They are:

  • Endeavor Elementary School, Portage Community School District
  • Howard Elementary School, Green Bay, Howard-Suamico School District
  • Lake Shore Middle School, Mequon-Thiensville School District
  • Magee Elementary School, Two Rivers Public School District
  • Onalaska High School, Onalaska School District
  • Platteville Middle School, Platteville School District
  • Sevastopol Middle and High School, Sturgeon Bay, Sevastopol School District
  • Washburn High School, Washburn School District

Saint Stanislaus Grade (K-2) and Saint Stephen Elementary (3-5) School in Stevens Point is one of 50 private schools nationwide receiving Blue Ribbon honors. It was nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

“These schools are among a select group across the nation,” Evers said. “They set high standards for achievement and teachers, school leaders and staff members, families, and the school community work together to ensure that all children succeed.”

In its 33-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized more than 8,000 American schools. For the 2015 program, schools are recognized in one of two performance categories, based on student scores, subgroup scores, and graduation rates. Schools are either “Exemplary High Performing” or “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing.”

Representatives from winning schools will be honored at an awards ceremony November 9-10 in Washington, D.C. Each school will receive an engraved plaque and program flag with the official seal, which signifies its Blue Ribbon status and the year of its award.

Descriptions of the 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.

Spotlight Schools showcase success

In addition to the Blue Ribbon schools, 10 schools across the state have received $25,000 grants to showcase successful practices that improve student achievement. The 2015-16 Wisconsin Spotlight Schools are:

  • Academy of Accelerated Learning, Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Bruce Middle School, Bruce School Distric
  • Converse Elementary School, Beloit School District
  • Grant Elementary School, Sheboygan Area School District
  • Howe Elementary School, Wisconsin Rapids School District
  • Lawrence-Lawson Elementary School, Sparta Area School District
  • Longfellow Elementary School, Eau Claire Area School District
  • Mercer School, Mercer School District
  • Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton Elementary School, Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District
  • Tiffany Creek Elementary School, Boyceville Community School District.

“These schools all have a record of increasing academic performance for students from low-income families,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Opening their doors to other schools, becoming a school for schools so to speak, will advance our efforts to close achievement gaps and ensure every child graduates college and career ready.”

Each of the 10 schools was a previous Title I Spotlight School. They received the 2015-16 grant for success in the area of teaching and learning as well as one of the other five areas of effective schools practices: decision making and accountability; family, school and community partnerships; leadership and governance; professional development and teacher quality; or vision, values, culture and climate. Schools receiving grants are eligible for Title I funding, a federal grant program designed to give educational assistance to students living in areas of high poverty.

Grants cover expenses related to travel, substitute teachers, and materials to share effective practices with three visiting school teams during the 2015-16 school year. Additional grant funds are used to support continuous school improvement in the Spotlight School.

Visiting school teams typically have the opportunity to directly observe classroom instruction, collaboration meetings, and intervention groups as well has hear presentations on topics such as using data to drive instruction or how a school’s vision can support common planning time, exploratory classes, and behavioral expectations. Visiting school teams also have opportunities to interact with Spotlight School staff. One visiting teacher wrote that the time spent visiting her host school was more beneficial than any workshop that she had attended in the last five years. “To be able to ask professional educators what is working or not working and to learn from their procedures was huge,” she said.

The Department of Public Instruction has awarded Spotlight School grants to 33 schools since the program began in the 2011-12 school year. Those schools have hosted more than 1,050 visitors from 174 Wisconsin schools. Due to reductions in federal funds that support recognition programs for high performing schools, 2015-16 is anticipated to be the last year of the grant.

Additional information about the Wisconsin Spotlight Schools grant program can be found at http://rewards.dpi. wi.gov/sor_spotlight_index.