Rogers, Ark. - The U.S. Department of Education announced that it will recognize Eastside Elementary with the top honor of being named a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School. The school’s staff and students are proud to be among the Blue Ribbon Schools that set the standard of excellence for all schools in the United States.
Eastside will join the other honorees from across the nation at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10-11. Only 6 percent of schools have ever received this honor over the past 32 years. The award is designed to bring public attention to the best schools in the United States and also to share their best practices so others can learn from their success. Eastside is the third school in Rogers to receive this honor. Russell D. Jones Elementary was selected for the distinction in 2012 and Bellview Elementary in 2011.
“I am so happy and so proud of Eastside’s students, teachers and administration and their hard work,” said Janie Darr, district superintendent. “The individual success of so many students has resulted in the school virtually closing the achievement gap between different groups of students. To have several National Blue Ribbon Schools in the district is a testament to the consistent quality of education in Rogers.”
According to the Department of Education, common qualities that can be found in Blue Ribbon Schools are leaders who not only articulate a vision of excellence, but also stay close to the real action of teaching and learning. Everyone - from the students to the teachers to the administrators - is held to high standards. In Blue Ribbon Schools, they also see that data driven decision-making is used to adapt teaching and learning to support every student. Mutual respect and trust are also embedded in the culture of Blue Ribbon Schools.
“We credit our success to a ‘Can-do attitude’ of high expectations for all of our students and staff,” Eastside’s principal Robin Wilkerson said. “The excellent professional development the district has initiated over the years has enabled our teachers to teach with expertise. The collaboration and embedded professional development that is possible through co-teaching, coaching cycles, and teachers working together has created a learning culture based on teamwork! Community partnerships with Trike Theatre, Hobbs State Park, and others have helped us grow in content knowledge and instructional strategies.”
In addition to the special effort of the staff, the school’s parents have also played an important role in supporting the school and its students.
“Our wonderful parents have supported our high expectations and partnered with us to help every child be the best, he or she can be,” Wilkerson said. “It has truly been a school community of stakeholders working together to create this success.”
The U.S. Education Secretary commended the school for its commitment to student achievement and helping lay the foundation for a great future.
“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said of the honor. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”
Eastside Elementary opened in 1972. It has 536 students in kindergarten through fifth grade and a class of 20 pre-kindergarten students.