Outstanding teachers and principals from the 2010 Blue Ribbon Schools gathered in Washington this week for a two-day celebration in their honor. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other officials offered their congratulations to representatives from the 250 public and 64 private schools named in this year’s competition.
“I thank all of you for the example you set for me, and I thank all of you for the example you set for the country,” Duncan said.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students. During the ceremony, 10 of the principals also received the Bell Award, an additional distinction recognizing their outstanding leadership in fostering successful teaching and learning.
Duncan acknowledged the important role that principals play in creating the conditions under which teachers can succeed in the classroom. “We have no good schools in this country without good principals, and, I assure you, we have no great schools without great principals,” he said.
As part of the two-day Blue Ribbon event, Teacher Ambassador Fellows from the Department of Education facilitated five round-table forums with Blue Ribbon principal and teachers, helping them to collaborate from one another on issues of great importance to teachers such as parent/community engagement and developing and evaluating great teachers.
The two-day event also included a surprise guest – Melody Barnes, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council in the White House, who brought greetings from President Obama.
“Thank you for your hard work to make our schools better – for everything you do to make sure our children succeed,” Ms. Barnes said. “And I want you to know that you are not alone. The President is prepared to work with teachers, principals and parents; governors, mayors and superintendents; business and philanthropic leaders; and the Congress to ensure that once again the American education system is the envy of the world, our children are prepared for bright futures and our country is able to compete and win on the world stage.”