On September 21, 2021, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, including Rock Branch Elementary. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Rock Branch is one of three schools recognized as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School in West Virginia.
“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”
The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of Rock Branch educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores, and graduation rates:
- Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
- Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.
On Monday, September 27, 2021, Rock Branch Elementary School and Putnam County Schools Superintendent and district leaders honored RBE's 2021 National Blue Ribbon Status achievement with a special school celebration event. Principal Beth Scott addressed her school with congratulatory remarks of adoration, thanking both students and staff for their dedication towards academic achievement and their school culture. Students and staff posed for aerial photos, spelling RBE on the playground field. Local news media joined the fun and interviewed Principal Scott, who spoke of how proud she is of the Rock Branch School Community.
Students enjoyed delicious blue snow cones, live music, singing, and dancing on a beautiful day. Rock Branch concluded their celebration event with a hallway parade led by school music educator Seth Skiles and Rock Branch fifth grade leaders.
Putnam County Schools is incredibly proud of Rock Branch Elementary School’s students and staff for their 2021 National Blue Ribbon School achievement. The honor affirms the hard work of RBE educators, staff, students, families, and the school community. RBE proves what can be accomplished when committed school leaders and educators create an encouraging school culture for their students where academic achievements and learning can grow.
Putnam County Schools is home to five National Blue Ribbon Schools. Prior to Rock Branch’s recognition, West Teays Elementary was honored by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2019.
The U.S. Department of Education invites National Blue Ribbon Schools nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Bureau of Indian Education, and Council for American Private Education.
To learn more about the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon School Program HERE.