Page last updated 11.16.21
2021 NBRS Awards Ceremony Highlights
The 2021 Annual National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony on November 4th and 5th in National Harbor, Maryland brought nearly 800 educators and leaders together to recognize 325 public and private schools receiving the award. During this celebratory, two-day event, participants heard from several guest speakers, engaged in networking discussions, attended workshops, heard from 2021 Bell awardees, and joined their peers in the presentation of awards.
2021 NBRS Award Ceremony Presentation of Awards
Aba Kumi, Director of the NBRS program, presided over the celebratory luncheon and awards ceremony on November 5th. Cynthia “Cindy” Marten, Deputy Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education provided formal remarks, honoring awardees with congratulations and recognition of their incredible dedication to students and school communities.
Watch the Awards Ceremony and congratulatory remarks HERE
See the full photo display of awardees accepting their plaques on November 5, 2021:
2021 NBRS Terrel H. Bell Award Presentation and Opening General Session
Eight National Blue Ribbon School principals were awarded the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership. Bryan D. Hale, School Ambassador Fellowship Lead, U.S. Department of Education, presided over the presentation of awards.
The 2021 Bell Awardees: Sophia Acevedo, Calder Road Elementary School, Dickinson, TX; Mary J. Anderson, Jacob C. Fruchthendler Elementary School, Tucson, AZ; Elisa Brown, PS 249, The Caton School, Brooklyn, NY; Mardele Simmons Early, Lake Forest Elementary Charter School, New Orleans, LA; Christy Flores, Maude B. Davis Elementary School, Costa Mesa, CA; Sonia Anna Flores, Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, Gilroy, CA; John Robert Gibbons, Weston Middle School, Weston, MA; and Angela Marie Silvaggio, Mesquite Elementary School, Mesquite, NM. Learn more about each awardee HERE.
See the full photo display of Bell awardees accepting their awards here:
Adam Honeysett, Managing Director of State and Local Engagement, Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education welcomed awardees, guests, and partners to the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award Ceremony during the general session on November 4th. Frances Hopkins, Director of the President’s Education Awards Program, Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education provided congratulatory remarks and introduced L. Earl Franks, Executive Director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Stephanie Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Middle Level Education, and Ronn Nazoe, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Miguel A. Cardona, Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education provided inspiring remarks and congratulated the 2021 NBRS awardees for meeting the challenges of the past year and a half.
Watch the Opening General Session and Presentation of Bell Awards HERE
Keynote Speaker: 2021 National Teacher of the Year, Juliana Urtubey
Juliana Urtubey, the 2021 National Teacher of the Year from Nevada, shared how she serves as a mirror for her school community, by helping students take pride in their identities and families, and acknowledging students’ strengths and contributions to the community. She was introduced by Cynthia O’Brien, Teach to Lead Program Team Lead, U.S. Department of Education.
For more information visit: https://ntoy.ccsso.org/juliana-urtubey-2021-national-teacher-of-the-year/.
Featured Presenter: Christopher Willard – Mindful Resilience, Self-Compassion, and Post Traumatic Growth
Christopher Willard, a psychologist, author, and educational consultant, guided participants through an exploration of the foundations of resilience and post traumatic growth through the lens of mindfulness, positive psychology, and neuroscience. He shared tools and experiential exercises that boost human resilience in the face of adversity for generations that participants could use for self-care, and for working with students and staff.
You can find Dr. Willard’s slides HERE.
Concurrent Roundtable Sessions
Presenters: Sadiq Ali, Executive Director MENTOR Maryland/DC and Pamela Civins, Senior Consultant, MENTOR National
The presenters shared how recognizing healthy, intentional relationships as outcomes should be prioritized so that all students have the support they need in and out of school. The presenters guided participants through a process to leverage the best of what they are doing as National Blue Ribbon Schools, shared promising practices from around the country, and offered new tools and strategies to strengthen awardees’ relationship-centered approach.
Highlights of Participant Take-Aways:
- Participants enjoyed the web of support activity and plan to use it in their schools.
- When students like the teacher they are more likely to try. This is an important message to bring to staff.
- Mentoring Mindset: I see you; I’ve got you.
- Relationships are important, multifaceted, and a prerequisite to learning.
- Relationships are an outcome and must be intentional.
- All kids need and can benefit from a mentor. Not just those at risk.
You can find the presentation slides HERE.
Presenters: Jessica Hazzard, Cape Henlopen School District (DE), Melissa Lambert, Fostering Quality Schools
This interactive session highlighted key considerations for developing high-quality education for multilingual learners (MLLs). The presenters focused on a systemic approach that includes the evidence-based essentials to better serve MLLs, grounded in the tenets that necessitate all educators sharing the responsibility for high-quality instruction and elaborates on the importance of having asset-based and culturally relevant knowledge, offering rigorous grade-level opportunities to learn (i.e., always on or above grade level), and including an emphasis on assessment for learning that gradually builds learners’ autonomy.
Highlights of Participant Take-Aways:
- Develop a core team to support MLL instruction and take one step at a time.
- Build a collaborative/co-plan culture and explore opportunities for co-teaching that includes MLL specialists.
- Shift the mindset to an asset-based framework and discuss the power of thinking of all students as “register shifters” and valuing the importance of socio-cultural language.
- Revisit current instructional models that support MLLs from this new approach.
- Shadow MLL students to build deep knowledge of their experience at school.
- Value emergent bilingual learners and understand them more than a subgroup.
For resources and information from the session, visit the presenters’ Padlet HERE.
Presenter: Tauheedah Jackson, Director of Place-Based Strategy and Community School Initiatives Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership
Participants broadened their knowledge of the Community Schools strategy and gained insights into how a commitment to collaborative leadership and coordinating infrastructure foster strong ecosystem development to support student success. Through this interactive session, presenters shared best practices and highlighted the growth of Community Schools to build and sustain outcome-driven schools.
Highlights of Participant Take-Aways:
- Community involvement is key to school success.
- Essential components and ecosystems that cultivate a community school.
- Community collaboration promotes students’ success and diminishes barriers.
- Community schools focus on the whole child.
For more information: https://iel.org/staff-and-board/tauheedah-jackson/
Featured Session: Terrel H. Bell Leadership Panel
Joseph Masgai, Resident Principal Ambassador Fellow, Effective Educator Development Division, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education and 2019 National Blue Ribbon School Principal facilitated a panel of Bell awardees. The panel shared their reflections and engaged in a discussion about relevant leadership topics, including best practices, leadership recruitment, professional learning, community support, promoting teaching and learning, student relationships, and mentoring.
2021 Bell Awardee Panelists included:
- Sophia Acevedo, Calder Road Elementary School, Dickinson, TX
- Mary J. Anderson, Jacob C. Fruchthendler Elementary School, Tucson, AZ
- Elisa Brown, PS 249, The Caton School, Brooklyn, NY
- Mardele Simmons Early, Lake Forest Elementary Charter School, New Orleans, LA
- Christy Flores, Maude B. Davis Elementary School, Costa Mesa, CA
- Sonia Anna Flores, Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, Gilroy, CA
- John Robert Gibbons, Weston Middle School, Weston, MA
Learn more about the panelists HERE.
Networking Café by Topic
Attendees engaged in self-guided round-robin discussions with their peers from across the country on a variety of topics. Participants joined their elementary school peers or secondary level and were given three opportunities to address topics of choice. Topics included bridging learning opportunity gaps, cultural diversity and equity, extended learning, family engagement, health and wellness, student engagement and motivation and much more.