Three Nevada Schools Receive National Blue Ribbons Awards
Three Nevada elementary schools – Wallin and Thompson in the Clark County School District and Pinon Hills in the Douglas County School District -were among 342 schools recognized nationally today as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017 by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Everyone in Nevada is very proud of Wallin, Thompson and Pinon Hills elementary schools,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Great teaching and leading is happening at all of these schools who are being rewarded as exemplary high performing schools.”
On the most recent Smarter Balanced Assessment, Nevada elementary schools averaged 47.1 percent proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA) and 40.7 percent proficiency in Math. Pinon Hills scored a 75.4 in ELA and 74.4 in Math, Wallin scored an 82.7 in ELA and 76.3 in Math, and Thompson scored a 72.3 in ELA and 58.6 in Math.
“Our staff is empowered to do what they know is best for students,” said Anna Hurst, Wallin Principal. “It is our guiding principle. The collaborative environment between staff and students fosters creativity, student-focused learning, and leadership. Key teaching practices which utilize collaboration are project-based learning and ability-based grouping in reading and math. These techniques afford students the differentiated instruction to learn at their level and grow without restrictions.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. This coveted award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.
“The biggest thing for us is that we have amazing staff who build strong relationships with our kids and families,” said Jason Reid, Pinon Hills Principal. “Every person on our staff gives incredible attention to every kid in our school in order for us to develop a nurturing environment.”
Shawn Halland, Thompson Principal, also recognized the passionate efforts of his teachers whose efforts he said are not known much beyond parents.
“This is all about hard work and extremely high expectations,” Halland said. “I believe it starts and ends with our teachers in every classroom. I’m also proud of the way we use data to identify learning gaps as fast as we can. We work really hard to make informed decisions using the data and our teachers work hard to create an active learning environment.”
On Nov. 6-7, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education will hold an awards ceremony in Washington D.C.
“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” DeVos said. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us; some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”