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Audio: An Expeditionary Learning School Takes Off in California’s Mountains

Sierra Photo 3Sierra Expeditionary Learning School
Truckee, CA
Sierra Expeditionary Learning School Photo 2

In 2008, in a small town in northern California, a dozen or so parents of preschoolers started dreaming about a different kind of elementary school and chartered SELS—the Sierra Expeditionary Learning School, in Truckee, California in March 2010. This podcast features Kim Bradley, a founding parent and current board member of SELS; David Manahan, the SELS Principal from the beginning, and Dr. Robert Leri, the current Superintendent of the Truckee-Tahoe School District.

Download the audio transcript here.

Sierra Photo 4
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Contact Information
Mr. David Manahan, Principal at Time of Nomination
11603 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA, 96161-4953
(530) 582-3701
http://truckeecharterschool.org/


Student Demographics 2017

Number of students K-8 212
Students eligible for subsidized meals 32%
Students receiving special ed services 16%
White students 74%
Hispanic or Latino students 21%
Asian 2%
Two or more races 2%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Student mobility rate 3%

 


Hearts and Minds: Social-Emotional Learning Improves Content Learning

Hearts and Minds features Pinewood Elementary School in Jenison, MI, a suburb of Grand Rapids, where teachers and staff found themselves dealing with extreme student behaviors that disrupted learning. When Principal Rachael Postle-Brown and her staff adopted a “Whole School” approach to supporting positive student behaviors, a host of benefits followed. The approach has three elements: students learn Mindfulness strategies to self-soothe and invite self-reflection, while a Social Thinking curriculum helps them develop oral language skills for resolving conflict and evaluating problems, and Whole Brain Teaching engages them through physical movement and choral responses that aid students in remembering content and academic processes.

Read a transcript of Hearts and Minds: Social-Emotional Learning Improves Content Learning.

Read Pinewood Elementary School’s 2017 National Blue Ribbon School application.

Contact Information
Mrs. Rachael Postle-Brown, Principal at Time of Nomination
2405 Chippewa Street
Jenison, MI, 49428-9116
(616) 457-1407
http://www.jpsonline.org/schools/pinewood-elementary/


Student Demographics 2017

Number of students K-6 371
Students eligible for subsidized meals 28%
Limited English Proficient students 0%
Students receiving special ed services 13%
White students 96%
African American students 1%
Hispanic or Latino students 1%
Students of 2 or more races 1%
Asian 1%
Student mobility rate 3%

Teaching with Art and Heart: A Rural School Reaches the Whole Child

Teaching with Art and Heart highlights the resources a dedicated principal has secured for the 700-plus students in her rural South Carolina school, Skyland Elementary. For more than two decades, Dr. Carolyn Styles has created a thriving community of passionate educators and young scholars.

In addition to identifying and remediating students’ educational gaps and serving as a resource for their families, Skyland uses the arts as a powerful tool for student learning. A long-standing relationship with artists at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC, enables teachers to tap student interest and creativity by using music, dance, literature, and visual arts to engage students in challenging content.

Read a transcript of Teaching with Art and Heart: A Rural School Reaches the Whole Child.

Read Skyland Elementary School’s 2017 National Blue Ribbon School application.

Contact Information
Dr. Carolyn Styles, Principal at Time of Nomination
4221 Highway 14 North
Greer, SC, 29651-0000
(864) 355-7200
https://www.greenville.k12.sc.us/skyland/


Student Demographics 2017

Number of students K-5 730
Students eligible for subsidized meals 41%
Limited English Proficient students 5%
Students receiving special ed services 11%
White students 82%
African American students 5%
Hispanic or Latino students 7%
Students of 2 or more races 4%
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1%
Native American 1%
Student mobility rate 7%

Still Making the Grade: From a G and T District School to a Top Neighborhood School

Still Making the Grade showcases the Brooklyn (NY) School for Global Scholars, P.S. 748. Originally designed as a district-based application school for gifted and talented students, P.S. 748 featured a self-created and evolving curriculum that used project-based learning and departmentalized, interdisciplinary learning to prepare global citizens for the future. It opened in 2010.

Two years ago District 20 re-defined P.S. 748 as a zoned, neighborhood school. As G&T students aged out, a new and more diverse student body replaced them. The shift in students was due to overcrowding; their ongoing excellence was due to a stellar staff who coupled high expectations with targeted supports.

Read a transcript of Still Making the Grade: From a G and T District School to a Top Neighborhood School.

Read the Brooklyn (NY) School for Global Scholars, P.S. 748’s 2017 National Blue Ribbon School application.

Contact Information
Ms. Ursula Annio, Principal at Time of Nomination
1664 Benson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11214-3606
(718) 382-3130
http://www.ps748scholars.com/


Student Demographics 2017

Number of students K-8 555
Students eligible for subsidized meals 69%
Limited English Proficient students 14%
Students receiving special ed services 14%
White students 34%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 1%
Hispanic or Latino students 25%
Students of 2 or more races 1%
Asian 38%
Student mobility rate 3%

Game Changer: Educators Turn Around a “Failing” School

Game Changer tells the story of struggling White Street School in Springfield, MA, where “demographics” had been the steady explanation for low student achievement. Families were reluctant to send their children to a school were only 4% of fifth graders scored Proficient in any subject. In 2010, the State Education Department had singled the school out for takeover if it couldn’t improve.

Three years into a stalled turnaround effort, a small team of passionate educators who had recently moved a similarly situated school from Struggling to Excellent arrived at White Street to effect change. Within two years, the State re-classified White Street as Excellent. Families are coming back.

Read a transcript of Game Changer: Educators Turn Around a “Failing” School.

Read White Street School’s 2017 National Blue Ribbon School application.

Contact Information
Ms. Kristen Hughes, Principal at Time of Nomination
300 White Street
Springfield, MA, 01108-2174
(413) 787-7543
http://www.springfieldpublicschools.com/schools/white-street


Student Demographics 2017

Number of students K-8 449
Students eligible for subsidized meals 100%
Limited English Proficient students 24%
Students receiving special ed services 19%
White students 7%
African American students 16%
Hispanic or Latino students 69%
Students of 2 or more races 1%
Asian 7%
Student mobility rate 39%

Jason Botel Opening Ceremony Speech

Acting Assistant Secretary, Jason Botel Welcomes 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools

During the 2017 awards ceremony, Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Jason Botel was a keynote speaker.

Mr. Botel identified the NBRS awardees as the nation’s education “all stars” and acknowledged their innovation, inspiration, and commitment. He highlighted that each of the awardees is demonstrating what it means to successfully address the unique needs of each individual student. Mr. Botel briefly described the U.S. Department of Education’s current orientation to the federal role in education and its recent activities related to the Every Student Succeeds Act. As a former principal, Mr. Botel congratulated the Terrel H. Bell awardees and recognized the influence and hard work of school principals.
Access Jason Botel’s Speech transcript here.