Oklahoma schools honored with Blue Ribbon Award

Tuesday, September 16th 2008, 7:46 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -- There are a few schools in Oklahoma that are being called "academically superior". And the designation comes from Washington. Six of Oklahoma's schools are being named Blue Ribbon Schools.

The United States Department of Education said Ms. Williams, her fourth and fifth grade students, and everyone at Schwartz Elementary in Midwest City is models for the rest of the nation to follow.

They've been named a Blue Ribbon School, under the No Child Left Behind program. Principal Johnny Thompson said starting early has been the key to success.

"I think the Pre-K programs and early childhood programs and the all-day Kindergarten has been a big asset," Thompson said.

Testing is the determining factor in the Blue Ribbon designation that focuses on math and reading.

At Schwartz Elementary -- every single student tested, passed.

"I never feel like I teach the same way each year; I always teach something new," Williams said. "This year we're including thinking maps and things that the kids can use not necessarily this year on a test, but every year."

The award distinguishes and honors Schwartz Elementary for helping their nearly 300 kids achieve at high levels. Although the teachers said this success is only possible when everyone is involved.

"It's not one person, it's not one classroom, it's not a one-year deal, it's every year, every parent, every student working together to get that 1,500 and the Blue Ribbon Award," Williams said.

The people at Schwartz Elementary feel their mission is not just to score well on tests, but to get students ready for the next level, and instill in them a love of learning.

Other Blue Ribbon schools honored this year in Oklahoma include Ardmore Middle School, Norman North High School, Homer Elementary in Byng, Sequoyah Elementary in Shawnee and Washington Elementary in Sapulpa.