95 episodes

Founded in 1982 by U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel Bell, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors exemplary public and private American schools. Each year, elementary, middle, and high schools across the country are recognized for the exemplary academic performance of their students or for making significant improvements in their students’ levels of academic performance.

National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Program - Podcasts National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Program

    • Education
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Founded in 1982 by U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel Bell, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors exemplary public and private American schools. Each year, elementary, middle, and high schools across the country are recognized for the exemplary academic performance of their students or for making significant improvements in their students’ levels of academic performance.

    Building Character and Knowledge in Middle School

    Building Character and Knowledge in Middle School

    Educators at Day Creek Intermediate School realize that middle school is a unique moment in students’ academic, social and emotional lives. As Principal David Apodaca notes, “you have to respect the fact that this is a huge transition time in their lives … And if we don't recognize that and respect that, then academic success will never come.” To support the needs of all students, this large and diverse middle school has implemented a program called Personally Achieving Character and Knowledge, or PACK – a daily embedded class period where all students received targeted enrichment, intervention, and social-emotional development.







    Read the accompanying video Reflection Guide to help prompt further ideas for your school or district context.



    Read a transcript of the Day Creek Intermediate School video.



    Read Day Creek Intermediate School’s 2019 National Blue Ribbon School application.



    Contact InformationDay Creek Intermediate SchoolMr. David Apodaca, Principal at time of Nomination12345 Coyote Drive Etiwanda, CA, 91739-9031

    (909) 803-3300

    • 5 min
    Students Making Science

    Students Making Science

    While science fairs may be a familiar sight at many schools, The Charter School of Wilmington’s Junior Research Project makes student research central to their high school experience. The whole school gets involved, providing a rigorous research course to students as sophomores, mentoring them throughout their junior year, and teaching additional workshops to help students refine their presentations. Local community members, including science and research professionals, come together to assess and celebrate students’ work. For students, the project is an opportunity to take control of their learning. As one student notes in the video, “the big takeaway from this project is … how I saw myself take the lead in something that I'm interested in...Once you realize that you have control, you can literally research anything, it was really worth it.”







    Read the accompanying video Reflection Guide to help prompt further ideas for your school or district context.



    Read a transcript of The Charter School of Wilmington.



    Read The Charter School of Wilmington’s 2019 National Blue Ribbon School application.



    Contact InformationThe Charter School of WilmingtonDr. Samuel D. Paoli, Principal at time of Nomination

    Dr. James P. Capolupo, Current Principal100 North Dupont Road Wilmington, DE, 19807-3199

    (302) 651-2727

    • 1 min
    Overcoming Challenges to Close the Achievement Gap

    Overcoming Challenges to Close the Achievement Gap

    Ladera Del Norte Elementary School



    Farmington, New Mexico



    Overcoming Challenges to Close the Achievement Gap. Like many schools, educators at Ladera Del Norte Elementary school were committed to supporting the success of all students, but they needed to strategically overcome a number of challenges in their mission to close achievement gaps.



    In this audio profile, Principal Phyllis Maestas explains how they improved their use of PLC time, which was “the first big step to closing the achievement gap”. Over time, teachers became more skilled in quickly identifying and meeting student needs. Now, even students themselves “know what they're supposed to learn and how they're going to get there.”



    Ladera Del Norte also prioritizes community involvement in student learning, especially in support of celebrating students’ heritage and culture. Maestas recommends that schools working to close achievement gaps “embrace the individuality of every child”, and use their unique strengths as the starting place to help them thrive.



    To listen to the full podcast, scroll down. You can download the transcript here.



    Members of Ladera’s local Native American community teach children about traditional crafts.



    Ladera students enjoy learning traditional dances from members of the school’s Hispanic community.



    Contact InformationLadera Del Norte Elementary SchoolMrs. Phyllis Maestas, Principal at time of Nomination308 E. 35th Street Farmington, NM, 87401-9309

    (505) 599-8605

    • 4 min
    Activating Student Engagement Through Brain-Based Learning

    Activating Student Engagement Through Brain-Based Learning

    Lakewood Elementary School



    Overland Park, KS



    Activating Student Engagement Through Brain-based Learning. Educators at Lakewood Elementary School take pride in creating schoolwide, interdisciplinary curriculum that students find exciting and memorable. They ground their strategies in a brain-based approach, meaning that lessons are designed to activate students’ brains, and that educators help children understand how learning happens.



    Kathleen Cigich, Lakewood’s principal, explains in the audio profile that students in all grades “learn about different parts of the brain, and how that brain can impact a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Our students even learn about metacognition and cognitive awareness, so that they know that reflecting on their own thinking will help them as learners”.



    Cigich also notes that because “we know the brain turns on when there [are] life experiences involved”, teachers in all subjects get creative with their lessons, and are supported through collaboration time and ongoing learning about new findings in brain science.



    To listen to the full podcast, scroll down. You can download the transcript here.



    “During our integrated Oregon Trail simulation, kids are immersed in the history of this time period by walking in the shoes of the pioneers as they travel the trail. Participating in an interactive unit not only helps the kids learn the content, but it allows for development of communication and collaboration skills. Plus, this type of learning experience is a fun and memorable one!” – Robin Weinand, Lakewood Teacher



    Lakewood students perform an original musical. “Our music teacher writes musicals each year with her students, and that pulls in the brain because it's asking our students to really become the author of the musicals. Everything is done by the students, from set design to costumes to program designs.” – Kathleen Cigich, Lakewood Principal



    Contact InformationLakewood Elementary SchoolMrs. Kathleen Jane Cigich, Principal at time of Nomination14600 Lamar AvenueOverland Park, KS, 66223-9998

    (913) 239-6500https://www.bluevalleyk12.org/lke/











    Student Demographics 2019











    Number of students K-5

    611





    Students eligible for subsidized meals

    6%





    Students receiving special ed services

    11%





    ELL

    2%





    African American students

    5%





    White students

    50%





    Asian students

    33%





    Hispanic or Latino students

    6%





    Two or more races

    6%





    Student mobility rate

    13%

    • 4 min
    Advancing Racial Equity Through Culturally Responsive Teaching

    Advancing Racial Equity Through Culturally Responsive Teaching

    Barret Traditional Middle School



    Louisville, KY



    Advancing Racial Equity Through Culturally Responsive Teaching. Like many schools across the nation, school leaders at Barret Traditional Middle School realized that they faced academic achievement gaps among students by race.



    With support from their district, and through the work of committed educators willing to address this difficult topic, the school engaged in professional development and implemented a range of culturally responsive teaching strategies. In the podcast, they discuss their challenges and successes, and reflect on what other schools can learn from their ongoing endeavor.



    As Amy Strite, the school’s academic instructional coach, explains, “we know that we are still in the very early stages of this work”, but “ we also have evidence that our strategies are improving things for our kids.” Principal Tom Wortham agrees, and notes that by opening up conversations around racial equity, “you'll make a tremendous difference in the lives of your kids.”



    For those interested in learning more about Barret’s strategies, the school has shared its Racial Equity Improvement Plan Development Tool, which illustrates the reflective, data-driven process they used to identify inequities, set a vision for change, and create a plan for reaching their goals.



    To listen to the full podcast, scroll down. You can download the transcript here.



    Contact InformationBarret Traditional Middle SchoolMr. Tom Wortham, Principal at time of Nomination2561 Grinstead DriveLouisville, KY, 40206-2862

    (502) 485-8207http://barret.jcps.schooldesk.net/

























    Student Demographics 2019











    Number of students 6-8

    636





    Students eligible for subsidized meals

    34%





    Students receiving special ed services

    2%





    ELL

    6%





    African American students

    22%





    White students

    63%





    Hispanic or Latino students

    7%





    Two or more races

    8%





    Student mobility rate

    1%

    • 6 min
    Supporting Highly Mobile Students at a Department of Defense School

    Supporting Highly Mobile Students at a Department of Defense School

    Maxwell Air Force Base Elementary/Middle School



    Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama



    Supporting Highly Mobile Students at a Department of Defense School. Meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of highly mobile students is a challenge faced by many schools and districts. Teachers and school leaders at Maxwell Air Force Base Elementary/Middle School in Alabama are well acquainted with such challenges. “Most of the students that we have are here for a very short time due to the nature of the military base”, explains principal Paul Hernandez. Additionally, many Maxwell students and their families contend with the stresses of deployment abroad, including to active war zones.



    By investing in direct supports to students, providing collaboration time and training for teachers, and using a little creativity, Maxwell has been able to help all learners thrive. Because collaborative planning using a common tool was such a helpful strategy for their school, Maxwell has shared their mathematics common planning tool as an example for other schools that may also find it useful.



    By investing in direct supports to students, providing collaboration time and training for teachers, and using a little creativity, Maxwell has been able to help all learners thrive. Because collaborative planning using a common tool was such a helpful strategy for their school, Maxwell has shared their mathematics common planning tool as an example for other schools that may also find it useful.



    To listen to the full podcast, scroll down. You can download the transcript here.



    Contact InformationMaxwell Air Force Base Elementary/Middle SchoolMr. Paul D. Hernandez, Principal at time of Nomination800 Magnolia Blvd, Bldg 538Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, DD, 36112-6147

    (334) 953-7804https://www.dodea.edu/MaxwellAFBEMS/

























    Student Demographics 2019











    Number of students PreK-8

    359





    Students eligible for subsidized meals

    11%





    Students receiving special ed services

    17%





    ELL

    31%





    African American students

    10%





    White students

    60%





    Hispanic or Latino students

    12%





    Asian

    3%





    Two or more races

    15%





    Student mobility rate

    20%

    • 5 min

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Golden ~ Eye ~ ,

Great program

A great way to nationally recognize high achieving schools. Their website showcases many other videos and podcasts for award winning schools

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