Five Iowa schools are among 286 nationwide named 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools. The designation is based on a district’s overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement. The schools named to the list includes: The Harlan Community High School, Meeker Elementary School in Ames, Hoover Elementary in Bettendorf, Taft Elementary in Humboldt and Okoboji Elementary.
Harlan Community superintendent Justin Wagner says the award is quite the honor. “A great honor for the staff, you know those are the folks in the trenches making the difference. I am really happy for them,” Wagner says. He says the process for being a blue ribbon school is complicated. “You have the Federal and State Government involved. Each state is allowed to nominate a certain amount of schools. They have a rigorous process that they have to go through; they call indicators of excellence they see in certain school districts before you get nominated,” Wagner says.
The superintendent says a lot of the process deals with the school’s academic achievement in regards to the Iowa assessment scores, and in Iowa, you have to be in the top 15 percent. All the National Blue Ribbon Schools will be honored at a recognition ceremony on November 18th and 19th in Washington, D-C. A few members of the Harlan staff will be going to the ceremony including a high school teacher, high school principal, a board member and the superintendent. Wagner said this is a proud moment for the district.
“It truly is an elite award. Again, we are just extremely excited and proud of the high school staff and the high school principal,” Wagner says. “But I will tell you this is a reflection of kids and staff as a whole.” Read more about the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools at :www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.