All National Blue Ribbon Schools are outstanding. Those featured here were chosen as examples of schools that encountered significant challenges on their road to excellence. They comprise a middle school Piedmont Open Middle School and three elementary schools Sundance Elementary, Rocky Mount Elementary School, and PS 172 Beacon School of Excellence.
This year’s elementary schools highlight how different differentiation can look. Sundance, for example, uses a pull-out model with a supplementary curriculum to help students who are two or three grade levels behind catch up.
Beacon pairs general education and special education teachers in the same class. Rocky Mount created an expansive Word study room full of reading resources at all levels for students with a range of learning styles. Piedmount Middle School shows how one element of the Common Core State Standards—argumentative literacy—can be woventhroughout the curriculum, enhancing students’ learning and cognitive skills in a range of settings.
The profiled 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools are all “odds-beaters”—schools where high numbers of disadvantaged families, English learners, and students with special needs are no barriers to student success.
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