Marion wins school award

Marion Elementary School students attended an assembly where they learned that they won the National Blue Ribbon School award. The school was one of 300 public schools in the nation to win. Laura Fowler Paulus / Free Press
Marion Elementary School students attended an assembly where they learned that they won the National Blue Ribbon School award. The school was one of 300 public schools in the nation to win. Laura Fowler Paulus / Free Press
Marion Elementary School received big news last week when they were notified that they won the National Blue Ribbon School Program award for 2018.

“I’m pleased to celebrate with you as your school is named a National Blue Ribbon School,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. “We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs.”

According to the website for the Department of Education, the coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

All schools are honored in one of two performance categories based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students over the past five years.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. Marion Elementary School was nominated this year, and they were one of only 300 public schools in the country to win it. Only 6 schools in the state of Kansas won.

“The award is given out to schools k-12 age level. Us, plus the five schools that won it in the state of Kansas, were all exemplary high performing schools. That means that over a period of five years, we have shown that we are high achieving compared to what our free and reduced numbers are. We hit over what the projected scoring line was,” explained Marion Elementary School Principal Justin Wasmuth. “Dr. Watson, the Commissioner of Education for the state nominates 5-6 every year. We went over a process starting in January including submitting a bunch of paperwork to show what we do to get kids to where they are. We sent that in to the state and then the state sent it in nationally.”

The news was announced to the school in an assembly on Tuesday morning.

“The kids were very happy,” said Wasmuth.

On November 7-8, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with the 300 public schools and 49 private school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.