[NSD] – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced Wednesday that Stevenson Ranch Elementary School, in the Newhall School District, has been named one of 219 National Blue Ribbon public schools. A total of 269 public and private schools have been recognized. Only twenty-four schools in California were honored with this prestigious award this year. Stevenson Ranch is the only school in Santa Clarita to be selected and was one of only four elementary schools to be recognized in Los Angeles County.
“This notice is very exciting for the students, teachers, staff, and parents,” said Candace Fleece, principal. “The honor underscores their collective dedication to every student’s learning and the remarkable skill of the teaching staff. It is a tribute to the entire community.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools that are either high performing or have improved student achievement to high levels. The program is part of a larger Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. Each year since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds.
To qualify for the Blue Ribbon Stevenson Ranch School had to achieve steadily escalating state test scores over time and a steadily increasing Academic Performance Index (API). This year their API rose to 981 on a 1000 point scale, the highest API score to be found among Santa Clarita Valley schools. The school was first recognized as a State Distinguished School last year, qualifying it for the ultimate federal recognition. State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson nominated Stevenson Ranch for the federal award.
“We are very proud of Stevenson Ranch’s success…the entire staff and community are committed to academic excellence and it is great to see their diligence and hard work be nationally recognized,” said Christy Smith, president of the governing board of the Newhall District.
“This is a great school with outstanding teachers and administrators,” said Marc Winger, superintendent of the Newhall district. “They are focused on the achievement level of every child and have designed programs to meet the academic needs of each individual student. Their school culture is one of total commitment, collaboration among teachers, high expectations, and success.”
Principal Candace Fleece and teacher representative Marguerite Armstrong have been invited to Washington, D.C. to receive their award from the United States Department of Education. They are planning a celebration for the students which will occur after their visit to D.C.
In a press release announcing the Blue Ribbon schools Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential. Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”