“Great schools don’t happen by chance. Great schools happen by design,” Secretary Arne Duncan said earlier today as he recognized the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools from the campus of Arlington Traditional Elementary School in Arlington, Va. Arlington Traditional is one of 269 schools selected this year—out of the more than 100,000 schools in the U.S.—to receive this accolade from the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary Duncan was joined at the announcement by U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy.
“The National Blue Ribbon Schools are the best of what our country has to offer,” Secretary Duncan told the assembled students, parents, teachers, and dignitaries. “They are models for schools across the country.”
Arlington Traditional Principal Holly Hawthorne noted that the school’s focus on academics, behavior, and character is the foundation of its success. “Behavior and dress standards help create a safe and inviting learning environment, and strong partnerships with families and the community foster each child’s whole development,” Hawthorne said. “Our students leave Arlington Traditional School as lifelong learners and future caring and contributing citizens.”
The 269 schools recognized this year represent 40 states, the District of Colombia and the Department of Defense Education Activity. National Blue Ribbon Schools are the “best in their class,” public and private elementary and secondary schools that produce outstanding results for all students. While all National Blue Ribbon schools have one thing in common–high or improving academic achievement –each great school has an inspiring story to tell about excellence in teaching and learning.
Aba Kumi is director of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program