Students and staff at Lamar Elementary waited patiently as a live webcast from the U.S. Department of Education listed, one-by-one and in alphabetical order by state, the names of the schools that won a 2015 National Blue Ribbon.
The anticipation grew as Texas schools began to flash on the screen. Then, when “LAMAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, EL PASO, TEXAS” was displayed, loud cheers were let out in celebration.
It was now official: Lamar is the only El Paso school to earn the National Blue Ribbon distinction this year.
“We finally did it, and I am so proud,” principal Bertha Martinez said. “This is the culmination of all the hard work we have done the past five years.”
National Blue Ribbon is the highest honor given to public, private and charter schools based on their overall academic excellence and success in closing achievement gaps among all students and student ethnic and socio-economic subgroups.
More than 300 schools nationwide were named National Blue Ribbons Schools, with 28 in Texas alone. To be considered for this national distinction, schools are reviewed on student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates.
“It’s an honor to be in this school and an honor to see these kids progress with their hard work and dedication,” Active Learning Leader Romelia Diaz said.
Lamar students gathered in their classrooms and the multipurpose room to watch the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan make the announcement this morning.
“The National Blue Ribbon celebrates our school for all the hard work we did,” student Amber Villasana said. “I feel happy to be part of this school.”
Representatives from every 2015 National Blue Ribbon school will attend a recognition ceremony in Washington D.C. on Nov. 9-10.
The Longhorn faculty and staff are looking forward to continuing their momentum and hope to inspire other schools in the District to succeed as well.
“This award shows that everyone that has the opportunity can perform at high levels,” Martinez said. “You just have to set expectations high, and the students will reach them. Believe in your students.”
Lamar joins eight other El Paso Independent School District campuses that have earned National Blue Ribbon awards since the program begin in 1982. Only 24 campuses in El Paso County have ever received this honor.
The EPISD schools with National Blue Ribbons are:
• Lamar Elementary, 2015
• Cielo Vista Elementary, 2014
• Transmountain Early College, 2014
• Douglas Elementary, 2012
• Coldwell Elementary, 2011
• Silva Health Magnet, 2011 and 2003
• Hillside Elementary, 2000-01
• Schuster Elementary, 1987-88
• Crocket Elementary, 1985-86
Earlier this year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) nominated more than 20 Texas public schools for national 2015 Blue Ribbon Schools recognition. Founded in 1982, Blue Ribbon Schools is a U.S. Department of Education program that recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels.
The U.S. Department of Education announced today that 25 schools nominated by TEA have been awarded Blue Ribbon honors for 2015. The schools in Texas include the following:
• Aldine ISD – Victory Early College High School
• Amarillo ISD – South Lawn Elementary School
• Austin ISD – Blackshear Elementary School
• Canyon ISD – Canyon Intermediate School
• Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD – Country Place Elementary School
• Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD – Kent Elementary School
• Crawford ISD – Crawford Elementary School
• Dallas ISD – Harry Stone Montessori Academy
• Dallas ISD – Trinidad Garza Early College High School
• Falls City ISD – Falls City Elementary School
• Garland ISD – Kimberlin Academy for Excellence
• Grandview ISD – Grandview Elementary School
• Harper ISD – Harper Middle School
• Highland ISD – Highland School
• Houston ISD – North Houston Early College High School
• Klondike ISD – Klondike ISD
• Los Fresnos ISD – Olmito Elementary School
• Malakoff ISD – Malakoff Elementary School
• McAllen ISD – Achieve Early College High School
• Mt. Vernon ISD – Mt. Vernon Intermediate School
• Roma ISD – F.J. Scott Elementary School
• San Antonio ISD – Young Women’s Leadership Academy
• South Texas ISD – South Texas Preparatory Academy
• Vega ISD – Vega Elementary School
For more information about the national Blue Ribbon Schools program, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.
Authors: El Paso ISD & U.S. Department of Education