The United States Department of Education has released its 2011 list of National Blue Ribbon Schools. New Jersey has 14 schools named to that program. Among the schools earning that prestigious recognition are Hunterdon County’s Tewksbury Elementary School, 109 Fairmont Road East, Califon, and Essex County’s Our Lady of the Lake School, 22 Lakeside Avenue, Verona, as well as Lincoln Elementary School, 712 Lincoln Avenue, Ridgefield Park.
In a letter sent home to parents, Tewksbury Elementary School Principal James E. Miller stated, “This is indeed a tremendous honor that is reflective of the support of the entire school community and particularly the staff at TES.” With great school pride, Principal Miller designated “Blue Day,” when blue would be worn to celebrate the award.
Committed to student achievement
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors both public and private schools, elementary, middle, and high schools that are either high performing or have improved student achievement to high levels, especially among disadvantaged students. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan indicates, “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”
Well-deserved national distinction
The 14 New Jersey schools awarded “National Blue Ribbon” status are listed alphabetically:
- Holy Trinity Interparochial School (Westfield, Union County)
- Lincoln Elementary School (Ridgefield Park, Bergen County)
- New Providence High School (New Providence, Union County)
- Our Lady of Mercy Academy (Park Ridge, Bergen County)
- Our Lady of the Lake School (Verona, Essex County)
- Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Rumson, Monmouth County)
- Saint Elizabeth School (Wyckoff, Bergen County)
- Saint John’s Academy (Hillsdale, Bergen County)
- St. John the Apostle School (Clark, Union County)
- St. Joseph School (Oradell, Bergen County)
- Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 (Elizabeth, Union County)
- Tewksbury Elementary School (Califon, Hunterdon County)
- Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (Hawthorne, Passaic County)
- Watchung School (Montclair, Essex County)
NJ Governor Chris Christie praised the state’s Blue Ribbon award-winning schools. He recognized their educational excellent stating, “This national distinction is well deserved, and is a tremendous accomplishment for the teachers, administrators, and students in these schools.” Governor Christie further indicated the educational dedication involved, stating, “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude both to the teachers of these schools, as well as the countless teachers across the state that each day are helping to prepare New Jersey students for success in college and career.”
In total, 305 schools in the United States were named as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. The 256 public and 49 private schools will be honored at a conference and awards ceremony to be held on Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.
Blue Ribbon Schools are vital
Today, there are large scale pressures on the nation’s schools, but a focus on learning and 21st century skills achievement has never been more important. The National Blue Ribbon Schools serve to provide both state and national models and inspiration.
Education’s essence is our children, and they are our nation’s future. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hones in on that understanding when he affirms, “America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education.”