By Anna Skinner
The U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, officially announced the Blue Ribbon Schools on Sept. 29. Westfield’s Oak Trace Elementary was among the eight schools in Indiana awarded the honor.
To be a Blue Ribbon School, the school must either be a consistently high achieving school with student achievement trends being consecutively high, or be a school in a lower social economic area with struggling students showing significant growth.
The state selected Oak Trace as a school being recognized for the first category, being a consistently high achieving school.
“Ultimately, what the goal of the National Blue Ribbon Program is schools that are doing well to share those practices with other schools,” said Robin Lynch, principal of Oak Trace Elementary School.
Lynch explained that in Oak Trace’s profile the school details how they connect their curriculum and how teachers try to connect all areas of the curriculum as much as possible to make it more meaningful for students. She also descried the school’s participation with community outreach.
“We have a close knit community and grade levels, and our teachers work together closely to make learning richer for all students,” Lynch said.
Because of the honor, Lynch and 12 Oak Trace teachers will take a trip out to Washington, D.C. Nov. 9-10 to receive the award. They will also get to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visit the Capitol building and participate in a tour of the Pentagon to see the 9/11 memorial.
“For me, it is a celebration and recognition of all the hard work and the sense of family and community we have built here. It’s just a real honor to be selected and we are very excited about going out to D.C.,” Lynch said.
She also hosted a celebration for the students that included blue sno-cones to fit the theme of being a Blue Ribbon School.
To view Duncan’s announcement of the other Blue Ribbon Schools, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.