On the heels of being ranked one of the best high schools in the state by Newsweek last month, Amity Regional High School received an even higher honor on Oct. 1 as the high school was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2014. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized 337 schools (including only 48 high schools) as National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
The Department will honor 287 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on just under 7,900 of America’s schools. According to Amity Regional High School Principal Charles Britton, Amity was last recognized as a Blue Ribbon school in 1982.
“I’m over the moon,” Britton admitted, quickly adding that 100% of the credit for the award should go to the students and teachers not only at Amity, but at all of the BOW schools.
“It’s a reflection of all of the schools—the K-12 continuum of excellence that we have here,” Britton says. “It really is an award for the whole BOW region.”
Charles Dumais, Superintendent of Schools agrees, adding, “It is a testament to the support that Amity receives from its three member towns – Bethany, Orange, & Woodbridge- as well as the tremendous work of the students, teachers, staff, and administration.”
“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Secretary Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.
Amity Regional High School is one of only two public high schools in the State of Connecticut to be recognized this year by the Federal Department of Education as a “Blue Ribbon School.” Amity has also been recognized by the State Department of Education as a “School of Distinction for Highest Overall Achievement.” Schools that have earned the distinction of being identified as Exemplary High Performing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels. Specifically, for the 2013-2014 award year, the Department strengthened the focus of both categories’ performance criteria around subgroups within a school and improving graduation rates for all students.
“We are extremely proud of the Amity students and staff. The Blue Ribbon Award is recognition of the great teaching and learning that takes place in this school and throughout the district,” noted Britton.
The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The U.S. Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.