Sep 28, 2017

Two Pickerington Schools Receive National Blue Ribbon Awards

Image of National Blue Ribbon Award logo

Toll Gate Elementary School and Toll Gate Middle School have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools.

Blue Ribbon status is one of the most prestigious awards given by the U.S. Department of Education. The schools each will receive the status of “Exemplary High Performing School.”

The schools were two of just 342 recognized in the announcement made at 1 p.m. by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

“This honor is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our teachers, support staff, parents, administrators, and – of course – our students,” said Dr. Chris Briggs, Pickerington Schools superintendent. “Having two schools receive this award in one year is an impressive achievement.”

“Our schools were selected last year as nominees for the National Blue Ribbon, and as a result we went through an extensive process to provide information about our schools to the Department of Education,” said Toll Gate Elementary School Principal Kristi Motsch. “There’s never been a school in Pickerington that’s received this honor. It’s really caused us to answer questions about leadership, school culture and climate, about parent involvement, and about our curriculum.”

Toll Gate Middle School Principal Kara Jackson said this award is reinforcement that there are some great things happening in Pickerington classrooms.

“So often, when it comes to education, we’re always told what people think we do wrong,” she said. “This award is a credit to our teachers, our community, and our support staff for all the hard work they put in day in and day out. And of course it’s a reflection on our outstanding students.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” DeVos said. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”

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

Now in its 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,500 schools. On Nov. 6-7, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with these honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.