East Elementary named ‘Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School of Excellence’ for 3rd time

Students and staff at East Elementary School celebrated the school being named a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School of Excellence this week. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – East Elementary School has been honored as a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School of Excellence for a third time, following accolades in 2008 and 2017. The school celebrated this week with cupcake parties and students wearing blue to commemorate the win. 
Not to be confused with the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon award, the Blue Ribbon Schools Blueprint for Excellence is a positive school improvement process that covers nine major categories of critical performance elements found in excellent schools: 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. 
“East Elementary School is a family school, and our success is due to our combined effort to provide our children with the kind of school that they deserve,” Principal David Wiggins said. “Thank you for helping to make EES the ‘Excellent Elementary School.’” 
Though it’s always great to see local schools receive recognition, Wiggins noted the survey data collected from students, faculty, staff and families as part of the process can offer keen insights into stakeholder perceptions of the school and programs. 
“We learned a lot. Everything from the fact that students really want mac ’n cheese in the CubCat Café, to a desire for a foreign language program at EES,” Wiggins said. “Information collected in the surveys will be analyzed, shared and discussed. Moving forward, we will make EES an even better school for our students, our teachers, our families and our community.” 
Along with survey data, the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence organization reviewed school data in the areas of academic achievement, student discipline, teacher retention, professional development and student attendance. The assessment process validated that East Elementary is a high performing school deserving of this prestigious recognition. 
“While each incredible school in Cullman City Schools is accredited through Cognia, we chose to take this extra step to gather additional data for school improvement,” Wiggins said. “The more we know, the more we can grow.”