YISD’s Desertaire Elementary honored at Blue Ribbon School virtual awards ceremony

During a national virtual awards ceremony Friday, Desertaire Elementary School administration and staff were honored for earning one of the most coveted education recognitions in the country – the 2020 National Blue Ribbon School award.

U.S education officials announced that 367 private and public schools won this year’s National Blue Ribbon Schools award after demonstrating overall academic excellence or notable improvement in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Desertaire ES is the 12 th school in the Ysleta Independent School District to become a National Blue Ribbon School, following Valle Verde Early College High School’s designation in 2017.

Specifically, Desertaire ES won the Blue Ribbon School award for being an Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing School, making it among the highest-performing schools in Texas as measured through test scores.

“I’m beyond proud of our teachers and scholars,” said Desertaire Elementary School Principal Beth Harbison. “We are a family of learning, and we appreciate the support from our Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre and the community.”

In 2016-17, Desertaire ES was designated as a “Focus School” for its wide achievement gaps in reading and math when compared to schools nationwide.

By implementing practices that included data talks and analysis, progress monitoring, instructional rounds, tiered intervention, and teachers teaching teachers, the campus went on to earn a B-rating in 2018-19 and an A-rating in 2019-20, as well as TEA Distinction Designations for outstanding performance in English-language arts, Academic Growth, Closing the Gaps, and Postsecondary Readiness.

“For Desertaire Elementary School to have experienced such incredible growth, and to have earned the honor of being named a National Blue Ribbon School – this is an exceptional accomplishment we take great pride in at the Ysleta Independent School District,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre.

“Thanks to our instructional framework, the support we provide our elementary schools, and the support of our Board of Trustees and community, Desertaire Elementary School is providing the best academic experience and environment that enables all students to realize the kind of growth and success they deserve,” Dr. De La Torre added.

Desertaire was among only 26 schools in Texas – and three in El Paso – to be nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools program last January.

The school then completed a rigorous application process through the U.S. Department of Education, which featured a detailed description of the school’s demographics; educational philosophy; school climate and culture; engagement of families and community; strategies for success; and other areas.

Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools award has been given to more than 9,000 schools. For more information, click here.