Students at the Grantham Village School in Grantham, N.H., gather together to spell out the school's initials on school's lawn. The school is being honored by the U.S. Department of Education's National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. (Photo Courtesy Grantham School District)
GRANTHAM — Superintendent Sydney Leggett is pleased to announce that the Grantham Village School was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program was established in 1982 to focus public attention on the best schools in the country, while also creating opportunities for educators to share best practices within and amongst schools.
"We are so pleased that our small and mighty school, and our entire supportive community, has earned this important recognition and chance to be an example to others," said Superintendent Leggett. "All members of our Grantham community work collaboratively to prepare 'Hawks' for a lifetime of curiosity and kindness with rigorous academics, enthusiastic and dedicated staff, supportive parents, and innovative programming."
The awards honor both public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students.
Superintendent Leggett, Principal Kristen Reed, and a teacher who will be selected soon will attend an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC on Nov. 4 and 5, as Blue Ribbon schools from across the country receive plaques and flags to show off their exemplary status.
The winning schools are held up as examples for other schools across the country. The Grantham Village School was honored specifically for consistently high academic achievement, high levels of growth and achievement among special education students, and for remaining strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the honorees on Tuesday, noting the unprecedented circumstances schools faced over the past year.
“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs."
A focus on social-emotional learning underlies the many opportunities offered by GVS; this foundation spreads from early literacy to artist-in-residence programming to its comprehensive multi-tiered system of support.
The school aims to provide students with multiple opportunities to connect their learning and themselves with the world by accessing local natural resources, collaborating with area businesses and colleges and leveraging technology to expand their horizons.
The Chief State School Officer in each state may nominate a limited number of schools for the awards based on the size of the state. New Hampshire education officials can nominate only three schools per year. Nationwide, no more than 421 schools may be nominated for the award each year.
To be nominated, schools must have among the highest graduation rates in the state, and student achievement in the top 15 percent statewide in both English and Mathematics. Public schools must also meet all of their state's annual measurable performance targets.
"Our GVS team values student voice and choice in everything from assignments to assessments. Through this approach, we’re able to maximize student engagement, build self-efficacy in our learners, and help them make well-informed and thoughtful decisions. These skills carry students into middle and high school, and the world beyond," Principal Reed said. "Like schools everywhere, GVS is navigating our way through the pandemic. Our whole community has made difficult decisions and continual adjustments to how we educate our children. Throughout this experience, we have been able to survive and even thrive thanks to a deep well of resilience and support. Our foundation of community and our commitment to children are our sources of energy, and moving forward these are what will take GVS to our next great place."
A video announcement of the honorees will be posted Wednesday by the Department of Education here.
To learn more about the National Blue Ribbon School Program, visit: https://nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/.
To learn more about the Grantham Village School, visit: https://www.gvshawks.org/.