Two Maine schools receive national honor

Orono Middle School and Eliot Elementary School are recognized as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools

AUGUSTA – Orono Middle School and Eliot Elementary School have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools for overall academic excellence and their success in closing academic achievement gaps between disadvantaged students and others.

The principals and one teacher from each school are invited to celebrate the honor at an awards ceremony scheduled for Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.

The two schools from Maine were among 304 schools nationwide – 255 public and 49 private — to receive the Blue Ribbon honor for 2011.

Both Orono Middle School and Eliot Elementary School were recognized as “high-performing” schools. Other schools that receive the Blue Ribbon recognition are recognized for their success in improving the academic performance of their students.

Orono Middle School involves all 130 students in extra-curricular activities, which helps forge a strong school community where students are connected and encouraged to pursue their interests. Orono Middle School is a top-performing school on state-required assessments, and staff at the school use assessments throughout the academic year as a tool for improving and customizing instruction.

The teachers at 300-student Eliot Elementary School, which educates students in pre-kindergarten through third grade, collaborate constantly as they work to meet student needs. The school also boasts a tight-knit culture in which students are greeted each morning by name, develop school rules for respectful conduct and are held responsible for their behavior.

Before naming National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education requests nominations from state education chiefs. The nominated schools submit applications for the Blue Ribbon recognition.

“Congratulations to the Orono Middle School and Eliot Elementary School communities for this extraordinary achievement,” said Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. “Eliot Elementary School excels in fostering a passion for lifelong learning among its students, and Orono Middle School has found a way to sustain that passion through the middle-school years. As we call upon our schools to prepare every student for college and careers, it’s heartening to hear about success stories like those in Orono and Eliot.”

More information about the Blue Ribbon Schools Program is available at:

David Connerty-Marin | Maine Department of Education | 207-624-6880
Jennifer Pooler | Maine Department of Education | 207-624-6638

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