Two Valley schools to receive the 2009 National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

Two Valley schools to receive the 2009 National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 3:26pm

UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:33pm

U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz (TX-27) announced that Southmost Elementary School in Brownsville, Texas, is one of 314 schools nationwide to receive the 2009 National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

“Students, faculty, and staff at Southmost Elementary, in the heart of Brownsville, have proven to this nation that our students can accomplish great heights through dedication to their studies and commitment to education,” Ortiz said. “I commend the staff and faculty there who have done an excellent job in preparing these children.” Brownsville Independent School District Interim Superintendent Brett Springston joined Ortiz is commending students, faculty and staff on this historic accomplishment. “Southmost Elementary is the first school in Brownsville ISD history to be selected as a 2009 National Blue Ribbon School,” Springston said. “We are elated with today’s announcement. Principal Jimmy Haynes, his students, parents, and employees have worked long and hard to earn this national distinction. We commend them on this their outstanding achievement.”

Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) announced that James Bowie Elementary School in Alamo, Texas, is one of 314 schools nationwide to receive the 2009 National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

“I want to congratulate the students, faculty, and staff at James Bowie Elementary School for earning this distinguished distinction. Their hard work and dedication make us all proud.” Congressman Hinojosa said. “This honor is not only a testament to the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff, but also to that of our students. I wish them continued success and hope they can continue to achieve this high standard of excellence moving forward.”

The school’s principal and one teacher will be invited to an awards ceremony on Nov. 3 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., where each of the schools will receive a Blue Ribbon Schools plaque and flag to showcase at their respective schools. Of the 314 schools, 264 are public and 50 are private. For the past 27 years, more than 6,150 of America's schools have received this coveted award.

“These Blue Ribbon Schools have shown that all children can learn with appropriate supports,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “They are producing outstanding results for their students. Some have shown dramatic improvements in places where students are overcoming the challenges of poverty, and others serve as examples of consistent excellence that can be a resource for other schools.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria: 1) schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or in the case of private schools in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests; and 2) schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that demonstrate dramatic improvement of student performance to high levels on state tests or nationally-normed tests.

In addition, public schools must meet Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, in reading (language arts) and mathematics. Each state -- not the federal government -- sets its own academic standards and benchmark goals.

A total of 413 schools nationwide can be nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Chief State School Officer (CSSO) nominates public schools, and the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) submits private schools' nominations. The schools are invited by the Secretary of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a Blue Ribbon School.

For more information about this award, go to http://www.ed.gov.

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