Principal David Wiggins and his team from East Elementary / Courtesy of David Wiggins
CULLMAN – Three area schools have been named 2017-18 Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE): Good Hope Primary and Fairview Middle from the county system, and East Elementary from the city system.
The BRSE Program, according to its website, “is a comprehensive school self-assessment experience utilizing the Blueprint for Excellence with guidance and support from Blue Ribbon Recognized School Educators. The program assists all schools, with a special focus on low socioeconomic, culturally diverse, and low performing communities of learning in assessing the quality of their academic and instructional programs and in developing a school-wide action plan to ensure measurable student achievement. Additionally, BRSE supports effective comprehensive school reform through the development and implementation of a web-based Interactive Library of Best Practices, K-12. The BRSE Program develops and supports educational policies that improve student performance and enable comprehensive school reform. BRSE also provides a network of educators from nationally recognized Blue Ribbon Schools, as well as researchers, business leaders, philanthropists and government officials, which allows these individuals to exchange information and ideas.”
The Tribune requested statements from the three schools’ principals, asking three questions: What does it mean for your school to get this award? Are there particular people in your school who need to be recognized? What do you want people to know about your school, staff, students?
East Elementary Principal David Wiggins, whose school achieved Blue Ribbon status for a second time, responded:
“Being recognized for a second time as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence validates the ongoing efforts made by our school family to improve upon and expand the learning opportunities for our students. This award recognizes more than academic success; it recognizes our whole school program. It means that what we do to meet the needs of our students, whether academic, social, emotional, developmental, athletic, etc., is not just adequate but exemplary.
“This award is shared by all stakeholders in support of East Elementary School. This award belongs to our collective family of students, teachers, staff, families, and community. Success like ours does not happen in isolation, instead it is a collective effort of many individuals and entities dedicated to doing what is best for children.
“East Elementary School is always evolving. We are continuously seeking out new educational resources, improving our instructional strategies for teaching and learning, and offering exciting opportunities for our students. Today's award is only another step in our evolution; and, we look forward to what possibilities lie ahead.”
Fairview Middle School Principal Trina Walker said:
“We knew when we started this endeavor a few months ago that we had the potential to bring this award home. We are always confident that our students, parents, and teachers are going to represent Fairview well, and they did not disappoint throughout this journey. To receive the highest honor from Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, the Lighthouse award, was reassurance for us that we are going above and beyond for our students on a daily basis. It is a great honor to be recognized in this capacity.
“There are members of our leadership team who helped everything come together as far as organizing student and parent committees and collecting surveys; however, our students, parents, faculty, and staff members are the ones who deserve recognition. It takes all of us working together to have a successful program.
“We have an awesome group at Fairview Middle School. Our state test scores show our students excelling, and that is credited to the big picture of student, parent, and teacher involvement. In addition to that, we have students and teachers who go above and beyond expectations daily. The Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award goes beyond excelling in classroom performance. We have students with huge hearts; students who think about others above themselves. Our students participate in several service projects throughout the year, and they amaze us every time. They have given to hurricane relief, made donations to the Harbor House, and are currently participating in Christmas Love. We have a very well-rounded group at Fairview Middle School. For that, we are very grateful!
“It was also pretty cool to get to share the award presentation ceremony with our students live from Orlando through Google Hangout. They have taken great pride in owning this award.”
Tonya Cupp, principal of Good Hope Primary School, shared:
“Good Hope Primary School is honored to be awarded the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Beacon of Light Award for 2017. To know our stakeholders–students, parents, faculty, and staff–believe all students receive an outstanding educational experience from the time they enter our doors to the time we dismiss each day, including engaging lessons, delicious lunches, and a clean school validates the hard work and efforts that go with our calling as educators. Our entire faculty and staff go above and beyond for our students each day.”
Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson, said, “Being recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence is an amazing honor. This recognizes the committed work of our teachers and students to achieve academic excellence. Cullman City Schools consistently has high student achievement scores in all our schools, and East Elementary being honored with the Blue Ribbon Award for the second time highlights this on a national level.”
As of press time, County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette had not made a statement.
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