The U.S. Department of Education has named Mt. Bethel Elementary a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. Mt. Bethel is one of only 279 public schools nationwide receiving the honor.
“I am beyond proud of our Buccaneers, staff, and community for 39 years of embodying our vision of excellence in action,” said Mt. Bethel Principal Jessica Appleyard.
U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr. announced the schools today.
Schools are nominated by the state department of education and must complete a comprehensive application about school practices.
Mt. Bethel won as an Exemplary High Performing school, as demonstrated by the application for the award submitted by Appleyard:
“We feel fortunate to teach students who we believe are the best raw material on the planet: high-achieving kids, with over one-third of our students qualifying for gifted services. Parents set high expectations for students, teachers, and the community and are actively involved – donating the resources of time, energy, and financial support in abundance. Our community is stable with a low transiency rate. Teachers continually seek opportunities for professional learning and engage in ongoing school-based professional learning, attend district-level trainings, and regularly attend national seminars.
The Mt. Bethel vision of EXCELLENCE IN ACTION brings a responsibility to develop students into well-rounded, well-educated, contributing members of society. This vision is the driving force behind all the programs and activities provided to all students, staff, and community members. The understanding of the role of an elementary school within the context of a much larger education career and as a vital part of the “birth to work” pipeline necessitates ongoing collaboration to ensure school improvement.
In addition to our high-achieving population, we have a large number of students with special needs. These students live predominantly out of our attendance zone and attend Mt. Bethel based on services offered. The staff and community are welcoming, inclusive, and focused on providing an education based on what is best for ALL students.
Mt. Bethel Elementary strives to continually provide opportunities for students to develop a variety of skills. Not only are academic skills continually assessed and analyzed for ways to improve, but opportunities to develop skills in fine arts, physical education, and citizenship are also provided. We believe that a well-balanced education allows students to truly become the leaders of tomorrow.”
In early November, Appleyard and teachers Theresa Collins, Kim Osburn and Maribeth Smith will represent Mt. Bethel Elementary at a two-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the achievement.