Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona are congratulating four public schools in Connecticut on being named 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. The award is given to select schools across the nation annually for demonstrating overall high achievement or success in closing achievement gaps. The four schools are:
- George Hersey Robertson in Coventry;
- Norton School in Cheshire;
- South Street School in Danbury; and
- Northeast School in Vernon.
South Street School (Danbury): Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing
More than half of the K-5 students at South Street School are English learners. Overall enrollment is nearly 400 students, and 87.2 percent of the students are from economically disadvantaged families. South Street educators understand the challenges their students face, and they are dedicated to meeting their needs. Teachers use “big data” (i.e. test scores) to frame a problem, but student work provides educators with the necessary detail to correctly identify the problem or misunderstanding and in turn, generate instructional solutions. The school-wide daily 30-minute WIN (What I Need) block is a key structural piece in place at South Street School to meet the needs of all students whether they need intervention or acceleration. The WIN block is designed so that no student is removed from their class during core content instruction. The effort is successful because of the commitment and “all hands on deck” approach of the professionals in the building including teachers, coaches, English learner specialists, and special education staff. This highly coordinated time used to provide “expert support” to students is a school priority. As a result, students are showing strong academic growth, and the school has been identified as a School of Distinction by the CSDE for three of the last four years.
“Connecticut’s public school teachers are the best in the United States, and the tools they are providing our youngest residents are enabling them to achieve success throughout their careers,” Governor Lamont said. “Every child – no matter their family’s income or the neighborhood where they live – deserves access to a quality education that prepares them for achievement. We no doubt continue to have work to do to close persistent achievement gaps that have lingered far too long, but I firmly believe that the strong work of so many of our educators is having an impact. I congratulate these schools on earning this national distinction and wish them continued success.”
“Receiving this prestigious honor speaks to the true team effort it takes to make tangible progress on closing gaps in opportunities, access, and outcomes that exist for too many of our students,” Commissioner Cardona said. “Taking these successes to scale statewide will require us to come together in the same spirit of collaboration with all of us doing our part, especially in light of this pandemic. I congratulate every member of these Blue Ribbon school communities because each one deserves to be recognized for this achievement.”
The Connecticut State Department of Education uses data from the Next Generation Accountability System to nominate schools for the National Blue Ribbon School award. Nominated schools must complete an application process and be approved by the U.S. Department of Education. All selected schools in Connecticut were Schools of Distinction for at least two of the last four years. National Blue Ribbon Schools are identified in two categories: Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing and Exemplary High Performing.