It is always good to receive an honor that is deserved and in the case of Peachtree City Elementary School the honor was one of national significance. The school was recently named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Dept. of Education.
“When a community comes together to think outside the box, mix traditional and innovative methodologies and let go of focusing on a single test score, there is always a risk of not succeeding. The National Blue Ribbon award validates that what we are doing is right for kids and we are on the right track for student success,” said Principal Kristin Berryman.
Peachtree City Elementary is one of only 304 schools nationwide to receive the designation, according to Fayette County School System spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach, adding that it joins Kedron Elementary in being the second elementary school in Fayette County to receive the honor.
Innovative ideas and practices are in place throughout all grade levels, subjects, and day-to-day life at the school, Berry-Dreisbach said of Peachtree City Elementary.
The Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that have helped close the achievement gap and whose students attain and maintain high academic goals. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award.
Berry-Dreisbach said Blue Ribbon schools are based on one of two criteria: schools whose students are high performing or schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels. However, they all share a handful of qualities. Their leaders not only articulate a vision of excellence, they stay close to the real action of teaching and learning. Teachers, students, and administrators are all held to high standards. Data are used diligently to adapt teaching and learning to support every student. Mutual respect and trust run deep in their cultures, said Berry-Dreisbach.
“It may be cliché to say that it takes a village, but it is certainly appropriate,” said Oot. “With the support of the district, our partners in education and community members, and our Peachtree City Elementary families, our faculty and staff have been able to use creative, successful scheduling, research-based interventions and enriching extension activities to pave the road for the hard work our awesome students put in everyday. I am so proud and honored to be a member of our village.”
Berry-Dreisbach said examples of innovative programs at the school include using content materials across the curriculum to assist students in making real-world connections; allowing children to have some power in consequences when they make a choice that is not the best so that they own the problem, not the adults; and creative scheduling for doubling up services when a child is struggling without he or she having to miss content concepts while getting extra help.
As a result, the school has seen increased outcomes across all subject areas, and a significant decrease in discipline referral data, said Berry-Dreisbach.
Peachtree City Elementary will be honored at a national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14-15 where each of the 304 schools will receive a plaque and flag to signify its exemplary status. As a National Blue Ribbon School, Peachtree City Elementary will serve as an example for other schools throughout the nation, and details of its achievement will be shared on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, said Berry-Dreisbach.
To date, Fayette has a total of five National Blue Ribbon Schools. Those include Flat Rock Middle (1997), Fayette County High (2000), Kedron Elementary (2006), McIntosh High (2007) and Peachtree City Elementary (2011).