22 Cullman County Schools receive Blue Ribbon awards at national conference


Good Hope Primary School Reading Specialist Cindy Bailey, Principal Tonya Cupp and Math Coach Kristi Barnette are interviewed about their achievements at the school at the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence National Conference in Orlando.  (Photo courtesy Shane Barnette)

ORLANDO, Fla. – This past week, Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette and representatives of multiple county schools traveled to Orlando to attend the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence National Conference and an awards ceremony where 22 area schools were recognized for achievements in the Blue Ribbon program.

In a statement, Barnette shared,“Over the past two years, the majority of our Cullman County Schools have gone through the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Assessment. After each school was assessed, most of them received various levels of recognition and all of them were given action plans for improvement. This past week, many of our schools received national recognition for their accomplishments.

“Along with the Awards Ceremony, Blue Ribbon Schools holds a national conference in which different schools share with attendees ‘Best Practices’ from their individual schools. CCBOE had educators and administrators from Good Hope Primary, Fairview Middle School and Parkside School to present during five different sessions. This week we had a total of 22 schools recognized at the conference. It is unprecedented for one district to have this many schools assessed and recognized for this achievement. 

“I am so proud of all of our Cullman County Schools!  I have said for a while now that there are great things happening in Cullman County Schools. This week’s recognition serves as affirmation of those great things.  Our students, families, employees, and communities have a lot to be proud of. Despite the adversities that our high poverty, rural schools face, our students and teachers are achieving greatness.  I could not be more proud of everyone connected to Cullman County Schools and the support that our board members have given through this improvement process.”

Schools recognized

Level One, Points of Light:

  • Hanceville Elementary School
  • Harmony School
  • Holly Pond High School
  • Vinemont Elementary School
  • West Point Middle School

Level Two, Beacon:

  • Fairview High School
  • Good Hope Elementary School
  • Good Hope High School
  • Hanceville Middle School
  • Holly Pond Elementary School
  • Vinemont High School
  • Vinemont Middle School
  • West Point High School

Top Level, Lighthouse Blue Ribbon:

  • Cold Springs Elementary School
  • Fairview Elementary School
  • Good Hope Primary School
  • Good Hope Middle School
  • Holly Pond Middle School
  • Parkside School
  • Welti Elementary School
  • West Point Elementary School
  • West Point Intermediate School

According to the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE) website, “The BRSE Blueprint for Excellence is designed to be a positive school improvement process that covers nine major categories of critical performance elements found in excellent schools.”  Those nine categories are: Student Focus and Support; School Organization and Culture; Challenging Standards and Curriculum; Active Teaching and Learning; Technology Integration; Professional Community; Leadership and Educational Vitality; School, Family, and Community Partnerships; and Indicators of Success."

According to the BRSE: “The Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School Award is a recognition program for schools of excellence and is not designed as a typical application process. Schools are identified and selected for this award based on achievement of excellent performance in all nine major categories of the Blueprint for Excellence assessment. Schools achieving excellence in less than nine categories could be eligible for the ‘Points of Light’ Award or recognition as an Aspiring School. Schools will be notified of their status soon after completion of the assessment process and honored in an awards ceremony at the annual Blue Ribbon Schools Blueprint for Excellence Conference in December. These awards are given at the sole discretion of the BRSE.

“An assessment does not imply or guarantee award eligibility. In fact, a school often implements improvement strategies to move from Aspiring School, to Points of Light School, Blue Ribbon Beacon School and then to Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School.”

In order to receive a Lighthouse Award, a school must exceed the established standard in all nine of the listed categories.

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