Ponderosa Elementary School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. It is one of only five schools in the state and 286 schools in the nation to earn this prestigious honor, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today Sept. 24, 2013.
“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said Secretary Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement. Ponderosa Elementary was honored in the Exemplary Improving category. Exemplary Improving schools have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and demonstrate significant progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
“The Ponderosa community is so proud of our students and teachers,” said Principal Elizabeth Sloan. “What an honor to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for our efforts to improve our academic growth for all students.”
For the last four years, Ponderosa’s commitment to develop the school as a Professional Learning Community has been a fundamental process for fostering student growth and achievement. Each grade level meets weekly in Professional Learning Teams to review student progress, study instructional practices and establish goals for student learning.
“Ponderosa’s approach to professional development for teachers embodies the principles of equality; everyone is of equal value. Everyone is a learner, everyone is a teacher,” explained Sloan. “Our approach is to empower teachers to think for themselves and value them as creative professionals who are well-equipped to make informed decisions for their students and their practice.”
Ponderosa joins seven other Cherry Creek schools that have earned National Blue Ribbon honors:
- Campus Middle School, 1999-00
- Eastridge Elementary School, 1998-99
- Willow Creek Elementary School, 1998-99 and 2005-06
- West Middle School, 1994-95
- Cherry Creek High School, 1992-93
- Smoky Hill High School, 1990-91
- Indian Ridge Elementary School, 1989-90
Since its inception in 1982 the National Blue Ribbons Schools Program has recognized nearly 7,500 of America's most successful schools. Ponderosa will be honored, along with 235 other public schools and 50 private schools, at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 18-19 in Washington, D.C.
Posted September 24, 2013.