Pick­er­ing Val­ley El­e­men­tary named Blue Rib­bon School

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

WEST PIKE­LAND >> Pick­er­ing Val­ley El­e­men­tary School in the Down­ing­town Area School Dis­trict has been named a 2016 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School.

U.S. Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary John King Jr. made the an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day. Pick­er­ing Val­ley is one of only 279 public and 50 pri­vate schools re­ceiv­ing this honor.

Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools serve as out­stand­ing mod­els of ex­cel­lence for their re­spec­tive states. The United States Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion cre­ated the Blue Rib­bon Schools pro­gram in 1982 to rec­og­nize public and pri­vate schools that achieve high lev­els of aca­demic ex­cel­lence or make sub­stan­tial progress to­ward clos­ing the achieve­ment gap for all stu­dents at­tend­ing the school. In those 34 years, less than 8,500 schools have been named a Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School.

Pick­er­ing Val­ley was one of the schools nom­i­nated by the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (PDE) for this award and one of only 12 schools in the state to re­ceive the 2016 award.

PDE in­vited Pick­er­ing Val­ley in March to sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion for pos­si­ble ac­cep­tance as a Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School. A team of Pick­er­ing Val­ley teach­ers and staff, led by Prin­ci­pal Joseph Fer­nan­des, worked to­gether to com­plete the com­pre­hen­sive ap­pli­ca­tion by the March dead­line.

School board Pres­i­dent Colleen Cran­ney ap­plauded the ef­forts of stu­dents and teach­ers.

“This award is but one in­di­ca­tion that the strong foun­da­tion skills we teach, aligned with the rig­or­ous Down­ing­town Area School Dis­trict cur­ricu­lum, are help­ing our stu­dents suc­ceed,” Cran­ney said.

Fer­nan­des and sev­eral teach­ers will at­tend the pre­sen­ta­tion ban­quet on Nov. 8 in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. They will be pre­sented with a plaque and Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School flag. The flag is a na­tion­ally rec­og­nized sym­bol of ex­em­plary teach­ing and learn­ing.

“This is a great honor and a tes­ta­ment to our staff, stu­dents and par­ents at Pick­er­ing Val­ley, and of course, the strong sup­port and foun­da­tion pro­vided by the en­tire Down­ing­town Area School Dis­trict,” Fer­nan­des said.

Down­ing­town schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Lawrence Mus­so­line praised Fer­nan­des, his teach­ers and stu­dents.

“My con­grat­u­la­tions to Prin­ci­pal Fer­nan­des and the en­tire Pick­er­ing Val­ley El­e­men­tary School com­mu­nity on re­ceiv­ing this pres­ti­gious award and for mak­ing us all proud mem­bers of the Down­ing­town Area School Dis­trict,” Mus­so­line said. “Although the award was given to Pick­er­ing Val­ley this year, I feel strongly that all of our dis­trict schools mea­sure up to the same high stan­dards that prompted the Blue Rib­bon Panel to se­lect Pick­er­ing Val­ley for this state and na­tional honor.”

He added that all 16 schools in the dis­trict “strive to nur­ture stu­dents to em­brace high ex­pec­ta­tions and make pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions in the fu­ture.”

“Stu­dents at Pick­er­ing Val­ley and through­out our dis­trict par­tic­i­pate in a num­ber of yearly ser­vice projects such as food drives, cloth­ing col­lec­tions, and com­mu­nity gar­dens,” Mus­so­line said. “Through our Home and School As­so­ci­a­tions, our great par­ents cul­ti­vate a sense of com­mu­nity through fundrais­ing ef­forts, fam­ily events and by part­ner­ing with teach­ers to de­liver pro­grams which sup­port our stu­dents’ ed­u­ca­tion. Our eight mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are sup­port­ive ones, not only con­tribut­ing fi­nan­cially but help­ing us through a va­ri­ety of or­ga­ni­za­tions that work with us to pro­mote the health, well-be­ing, and learn­ing of all stu­dents.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — DOWN­ING­TOWN AREA SCHOOL DIS­TRICT

Pic­tured with Pick­er­ing Val­ley El­e­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Joseph Fer­nan­des are, from left to right in the back row: Mikayla Vo; Emily Stein­berg; Ni­cholas En­gle; Jack Szebenyi; Aniyah McGib­boney; Sai Vytla; Mary Haughey; Joseph Zeng; front row from left to right: Jay­den Kim; Con­nor Fee­han; Eve­lyn Bul­lotta; and Paige Heck­ler.

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