Pickering Valley Elementary named Blue Ribbon School
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.”
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.