Colorado wind chill couldn’t stop these Eagles!

Accepting the Blue Ribbon School award were (R-to-L) Principal Kathleen Kreiger, and student body council co-chairs, Charlie Doebbler and Bryce Lorenz. Department representative Helen Littlejohn is on the left.

Accepting the Blue Ribbon School award were (R-to-L) Principal Kathleen Kreiger, and student body council co-chairs, Charlie Doebbler and Bryce Lorenz. Department representative Helen Littlejohn is on the left.

Dennison uses community support and data-driven decisions to take home a second Blue Ribbon!

The windy 37-degree weather didn’t chill the spirits of 600 Dennison Elementary School Eagles yesterday as they celebrated their second Blue Ribbon School award this decade. Students, staff, parents, and community supporters of the Lakewood, Colo., school huddled in the outdoor stadium, warmed by the energy of enthusiastic applause and acknowledgements for their school’s incredible accomplishment.

“There are really three components at work here,” explained Principal Kathleen Kreiger, who has headed the school for the past nine years. “We would not have achieved this award without our amazing staff, parents, and of course our STUDENTS!”

Noting that the award is really a community accolade, Ms. Kreiger gave credit to the hard work by the entire staff – teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff. “This really belongs to all of us,” she said, before presenting certificates of thanks to each person on the staff. “I am so proud of all of you!” she said. Click here to view video of the Blue Ribbon ceremony at Dennison.

The staff at Dennison attributed their success to continually analyzing formal and informal student data to inform their instruction and keep students on target for achieving at least grade-level proficiency in all content areas. The Dennison instructional model includes:

  • Systemic and systematic programming in all content areas;
  • Self-contained classrooms with an emphasis on whole group instruction;
  • Open Court Reading Program emphasizing phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency, and comprehension;
  • An emphasis on both basic skills and higher-level thinking skills;
  • A “specials” program that includes art, music, physical education, and computer instruction.

When parents were asked what they appreciate about Dennison, they consistently said the school provides an academically rigorous and well-rounded education. President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will support all schools in their work to offer a well-rounded education.  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/publicationtoc.html

Kreiger, who attended the 2010 Blue Ribbon Schools celebration in Washington on Nov. 15-16, noted that the presentation of the Dennison Blue Ribbon was the highlight of her professional career.  “To be in this business, you really have to be passionate about students and your work,” said Kreiger. “We all really strive to keep improving what we do every day for our students.”

Helen Littlejohn is a Senior Public Affairs Specialist in Region 8.  Before coming to the Department of Education, she substitute taught in the Department of Defense Schools in Germany and served on the parent committee at her son’s high school.