Opal Robinson Elementary School of Manhattan Beach Unified School District is among the 35 public schools in California to earn a nomination for the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program award.
Robinson Elementary was nominated alongside Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale— the only two schools in the South Bay to receive the honor this year.
“It’s just an honor to be nominated, to represent the district as well as our Southern California area,” Robinson Principal Nancy Doyle said. “We’re just thrilled that we have an opportunity to share what we’ve done, share our best practices and what we believe has made us successful.”
The California Department of Education annually conducts an analysis of the statewide assessment databases to identify schools that meet the eligibility criteria. In a statement released Dec. 20, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the nominations and congratulated the schools that made the cut.
“I applaud the principals, teachers, staff, and families whose commitment to learning has led to success in the classroom,” Torlakson said. “Schools nominated for this significant recognition are performing at very high levels or are making impressive strides in student progress under challenging circumstances.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, a federal program founded in 1982, annually recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools that demonstrate academic excellence or drastic improvement in student performance while serving an economically disadvantaged population of students. Since its inception, the program has awarded this distinction to nearly 7,000 schools in the United States.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education establishes the categories for nomination and eligibility criteria. For 2013, schools were eligible for consideration if they fell under one of two criteria:
“Exemplary High-Performing Schools” for those that achieved at least the 85th percentile statewide on state tests; and “Exemplary Improving Schools” for schools with at least 40 percent of their students from a disadvantaged background that are also among the top 10 percent statewide showing the great improvement on state assessments.
Doyle, who found out about the nomination in December, said she gives the credit to Robinson’s staff of 20 teachers.
“In my understanding it’s not easy to be nominated, especially for high-achieving schools,” she said. “We have teachers that are motivating, captivating and encourage students to participate and feel good about themselves and continue to stretch and grow. I have an amazing staff of teachers.”
Winners of the Blue Ribbon School Program award are typically announced in September.