Southmoreland Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School
To the credit of Southmoreland School District administrators, teachers and staff, Southmoreland Elementary School has been named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education.
Timothy Scott, assistant superintendent of the district, said the journey of Southmoreland Elementary is truly an amazing one, dubbing it going from the “outhouse to the penthouse.”
“One would be challenged to find a school anywhere in the nation to have gone from School Improvement I (under No Child Left Behind) to being named a Blue Ribbon recipient in just five years,” he said.
The school was just one of 13 schools in the state that was nominated for the honor, being nominated by Ronald Tomalis, former secretary of education for Pennsylvania.
The school was just one of 236 public schools and 50 private schools across the nation to have been given the honor.
John Lee, school principal, said the award is given to those schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of achievement.
“This really shows a lot of hard work on the part of our staff and our parents,” said Lee. “They all helped to turn the school around from being in school improvement to being nationally recognized and that speaks volumes to how hard everyone works.”
Superintendent John Molnar said it's the district's commitment to focusing on results, collaboration between teachers and using viable curriculum.
“This is a testament of a total culture of collaboration that we've been able to put into place,” he said. “It ensures a guaranteed viable curriculum for all students and it's something I believe in. It's a process that's been put into place that works well.”
Scott said focused collaboration is now embedded in the district's culture and team meetings are “the engine that drives the improvement process across the district.”
He reiterated what Molnar said, adding that the process that makes the district successful includes believing that the purpose of the school is to ensure that all students learn at high levels, high levels of learning require a collaborative effort and using results of student learning to identify students who need intervention and enrichment.
“The National Blue Ribbon is our nation's most prestigious educational award and serves as validation for the drastic change the district embarked upon, beginning at the middle school in 2003,” Scott said. “I have yet to find a school district in Pennsylvania with over 50 percent of students economically disadvantaged that outperforms Southmoreland and I'm still searching.
“Ours truly is an amazing success story,” he added. “Rather than chasing suspect educational initiatives, the Department of Education should be inquiring from us to learn how to raise the bar and close the gap for all students in terms of learning.”
The Parent Teacher Association at the elementary school recently sponsored a day where all the students wore blue to recognize the achievement.
“We wanted the parents, faculty and staff to see that we recognized the accomplishment,” said Kristy Smith, PTA president. “We are so encouraged and excited for the school and we wanted to have a day set aside to show our appreciation for all their hard work.”
Rachel Basinger is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Route 22 closed in Delmont after tractor-trailer crash at cloverleaf
- St. Vincent professor, students use interviews for drug addiction data
- Mt Pleasant police officer assaulted while making arrest
- Hempfield Area balances budget with 1.79-mill tax increase
- Route 119 ramp to Route 819 to be closed in July
- Hempfield dentist-turned-missionary-turned-author offers advice for youths
- Hempfield man pleads guilty in crime spree in North Huntingdon, Jeannette, Unity
- Fire extinguished at Smithton commercial building
- Mt. Pleasant Township couple charged in abuse of 3-year-old
- Former Mt. Pleasant sex offender to stay behind bars while wife hunts for home
- Westmoreland County coroner scheduled to announce ruling in fatal 2013 police standoff