Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Flowertown Elementary School waited with baited breath Tuesday morning, everyone crowded in the cafeteria watching U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announce the winners of the 2013 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools.
A cheer went up as Flowertown was announced as one of the 286 schools awarded the honor.
Duncan made this year’s announcement live via the Department's USTREAM channel, viewed by recognized principals, teachers, and students assembled across the country.†
The Department will honor 236 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on November 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C.
“We are so excited,” said Principal Donna Goodwin, “it’s been a journey.”
Goodwin went on to say how hard the students, parents and staff work to make Flowertown the school it is. “Our students, parents and teachers work and work and we have wonderful district support and leadership…this is the ultimate [result] of teamwork.”
“Our teachers just work so hard and believe in our children so much.”
In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America’s schools.
“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”††
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 program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
The second category is “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requested 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 420 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.
The good news that Flowertown Elementary School was in the running for a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School Award was literally shouted from the roof top on December 7, 2012 as Dorchester District Two Superintendent Joe Pye, Principal Donna Goodwin, Director of Elementary Schools Dr. Glenn Huggins and other staff went up on the roof of the main building to make the surprise announcement to excited students and teachers gathered on the lawn below.
†††† Flowertown Elementary School was one of five South Carolina schools nominated for the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards by the State Department of Education.† State Superintendent Dr. Mick Zais announced the names of the four elementary schools and one high school the state had nominated for consideration in this prestigious national awards program run by the U.S. Department of Education. To be recognized as a Blue Ribbon School, a school must demonstrate a strong commitment to educational excellence for all students.† South Carolina is permitted to nominate five schools and Flowertown Elementary was the only school in the Lowcountry to be named.
†††† The school opened in 1979 with Joe Pye, current district superintendent, as the principal. Flowertown has approximately 115 staff members who serve 1,078 4K through 5th grade students. This award-winning school has earned an Absolute rating of Excellent on the state report card for the past four years and a Growth rating of Excellent for past three years. The school received a Palmetto Gold Award from the State Department of Education and the Education Oversight Committee for outstanding student achievement.† In 1988, Flowertown Elementary was named a Palmetto Finest School as the best elementary school in the state.† Donna Goodwin is in her sixth year as principal of the school.