William S. Gussner Elementary School in Jamestown has been named a National Blue Ribbon School, putting it among the highest performing schools in the nation, as announced Tuesday.
Gussner Elementary is one of three North Dakota schools to receive this honor, which was given to 236 public and 50 private schools by the U.S. Department of Education. The other North Dakota schools were Edgeley Elementary School and Wyndmere Elementary School.
“We are very proud, and we are very thankful,” said Robert Lech, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award has been recognizing schools for 31 years based on state assessments and standardized tests, according to a news release.
This is the first year that any Jamestown school has been named a National Blue Ribbon School, Lech said.
“It’s pretty fun,” said Peg Wagner, principal of Gussner Elementary. She credited the teachers, students, school support staff, Jamestown Public School Board and parents for helping the school gain this recognition.
“It’s a collaborative thing we have going on here, it’s not just one individual,” Wagner said.
Gussner was invited to apply for the National Blue Ribbon award by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in January, Wagner said.
“It’s an award that’s given to our school,” she added, “but it’s an achievement for our district.”
National Blue Ribbon Schools will be honored in a ceremony Nov. 18-19 in Washington, D.C.
Lech said he’s not sure who will represent Jamestown Public Schools in Washington, but someone from Gussner or the school district will be there.
Also, Gov. Jack Dalrymple and State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler plan to visit Jamestown some time to formally recognize Gussner, Lech said, but he wasn’t sure when.
Gussner was recognized as “Exemplary High Performing,” which signifies the highest performing schools in each state.
The other category in which schools can be named National Blue Ribbon is “Exemplary Improving,” which is the most-improved schools with at least 40 percent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This is also the first year an Edgeley school has received the National Blue Ribbon honor, said Rick Diegel, superintendent and acting principal of Edgeley Elementary.
“We are extremely happy and very honored,” he said.
“In order to receive an award like this, you need to have lots of different facets of education working together,” including parents, teachers, the school board and the community, Diegel said.
Edgeley will send 10 teachers to the award ceremony in Washington, he said. The school district also plans to celebrate the award in part of its annual Christmas program.
Page 2 of 2 -