Two schools from Maine win National Blue Ribbon recognition

Coastal Ridge Elementary School in York and Minot Consolidated School in RSU 16 were among 335 public and private schools across the country named 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan today.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students demonstrate high achievement learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

Each year, the Maine Department of Education is invited to nominate schools for this recognition. Acting Commissioner of Education Tom Desjardin says, “These nominees need to meet specific national criteria, and the process is quite detailed, so congratulations to Coastal Ridge Elementary and Minot Consolidated in being recognized as exemplary high performing schools; this is a huge honor.”

Coastal Ridge Elementary students form a peace sign
Coastal Ridge Elementary students form a peace sign

Coastal Ridge Elementary School is comprised of teachers and families who believe in working together to create an exuberant, healthy climate where adults model respect and selflessness. Classrooms grow into respectful communities where children take ownership of their learning and emotional well-being. Principal Sean Murphy says, “While the award is based on test scores in math and reading, our schools’ emphasis on the arts, sciences, and social development contributes to the children’s overall achievement.  We have worked hard to polish our instructional model and bear down to teach more students better. Teachers stepped up and now we can celebrate a model that serves all students effectively.”  Such a nomination comes with considerable documentation of the school’s practices and data to demonstrate student proficiency over the past five years. “CRES devoted many hours of writing and analysis to describe our current instructional practices. Thankfully, the Maine DOE Data Warehouse is helpful in culling through the numerous levels of data that are required to demonstrate school effectiveness.”

Minot Consolidated School students gather in the school's gymnasium
Minot Consolidated School students gather in the school’s gymnasium

Minot Consolidated School is the epicenter of the town where children are educated, town meetings are held, community dinners are served, and recreational sporting events are attended. Staff, families and community members form a strong bond, which creates a successful school environment where children are challenged to do their best and rewarded for a job well done. Self-confidence, motivation, and a sense of personal responsibility are supported by teachers differentiating their instruction based on student background, readiness, and interest. Principal Kim Spencer says, “Minot Consolidated School staff, students and parents are thrilled to be receiving the Blue Ribbon Award for academic excellence. We will continue to represent the Blue Ribbon standards of excellence in education in our learning environments every day by making sure that school is safe, challenging, and a fun place to learn and teach.”

In November, Coastal Ridge Elementary School Principal Sean Murphy and Minot Consolidated School Principal Kim Spencer will travel to Washington D.C. for a two-day event where they will participate in workshops, attend presentations, and have discussions with educators from other National Blue Ribbon Schools. Each school will receive an award plaque and flag to grace the school’s building, affirming the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities and serving as a symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

Last year, Turner Elementary was named Maine’s National Blue Ribbon School.

For more information about Maine DOE’s efforts to celebrate the achievement of its schools, visit www.maine.gov/doe/recognition/.

For more information, contact anne.gabbianelli@maine.gov, or call 624-6747.

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