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Posted in

March

2014

National Blue Ribbon Excellence Is Viral in Elmhurst, IL Schools

It’s an honor for a school district to have one school designated as a National Blue Ribbon School–Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 in west suburban Chicago has had five NBRS celebrations over the past 7 years, with Sandburg Middle School winning a second time in 2013.

Secrets of the district-wide success include an aligned K-12 curriculum and testing all aimed at college readiness, and strong teamwork among teachers, according to Superintendent David Pruneau.

“Teachers don’t collaborate because they have to, but because they want to at Sandburg,” said Principal Amy Read. “We haven’t gotten to this point in isolation from Elmhurst’s other schools, though.”

Sandburg Middle School teachers working with other Elmhurst District 205 teachers at a Professional Learning Community summer workshop. Photo: Dr. Al Bertani. Pictured. L to R: Marie Zelek, Jackson Elementary School art teacher; Gail Blubaugh, Hawthorne Elementary School 2nd grade teacher; Elizabeth Marcellus, Sandburg Middle School math teacher; Frank Dahlman, Sandburg English teacher; Theresa Cohen and Regina Hughes, both Sandburg Language Arts teachers.
Sandburg Middle School teachers working with other Elmhurst District 205 teachers at a Professional Learning Community summer workshop. Photo: Dr. Al Bertani. Pictured. L to R: Marie Zelek, Jackson Elementary School art teacher; Gail Blubaugh, Hawthorne Elementary School 2nd grade teacher; Elizabeth Marcellus, Sandburg Middle School math teacher; Frank Dahlman, Sandburg English teacher; Theresa Cohen and Regina Hughes, both Sandburg Language Arts teachers.

As an example, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Charles Johns noted that Elmhurst’s Churchville Middle School is leading the way for other District 205 middle schools, including Sandburg, with its innovative technology practices like a Googlechrome books pilot program. That program – aimed at streamlining classwork and homework — is exciting kids about learning, and improving teacher training, he said.

“Sharing has become viral,” said Johns, of the pilot’s impact on teachers and students alike.


Okatie Elementary, 2013 NBRS, Named Best School Improvement Council in State

South Carolina’s Okatie Elementary School, in Okatie, SC received the 2014 Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence on March 22. The award honors contributions by school improvement councils. Among Okatie’s School Improvement Council achievements were establishing a mentor program for students, creating a food donation program, and communicating with parents about rezoning and school choice issues. Okatie was also a finalist among the Palmetto’s Finest, awarded by the state’s Association of School Administrators. Read local news coverage.


President Obama to Give Commencement at 2013 NBR School

Following last week’s visit to Worcester Technical High School (Worcester, MA), a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Obama has announced that he will give the commencement address at the school June 11. Watch local news coverage of the announcement.

 Highlights from Secretary Duncan’s visit

duncan
On his trip to Worcester Tech High School (MA), Secretary Arne Duncan heard from students, talked with students, and toured the veterinary clinic with Principal Sheila Harrity (right) a 2013 Terrell Bell awardee.

During his visit to the school March 12, Secretary Duncan called Worcester Tech as a “world class” school. With a full range of academic and vocational programs, Worcester Tech operates a local bank, beauty salon, auto repair shop, and veterinary clinic for local residents. The Secretary toured the school and took part in a town hall style meeting with students and visiting dignitaries.

 

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