Congratulations to Pickering Valley Elementary School, one of our nation's 2016 Blue Ribbon Schools!
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 and make substantial progress toward closing the achievement gap for all students attending the school. Several hundred schools receive the award annually with more than 8,000 recipients across the country since the program began. On Wednesday, US Education Secretary John King Jr. announced that DASD's own Pickering Valley Elementary School was selected as a 2016 award winner. Downingtown's first National Blue Ribbon School!
National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as outstanding models of excellence for their respective states. Pickering Valley was one of only thirteen schools nominated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for this award. In March, PDE invited Pickering Valley to submit an application for possible acceptance as a National Blue Ribbon School. A team of PV teachers and staff led by Principal Joe Fernandes worked together to complete the comprehensive application by the March deadline. Wednesday, we learned that Pickering Valley had been selected.
The award earned by Pickering Valley is just one indication that the strong foundational skills we teach to all students in our district, skills that are aligned with the rigorous Downingtown Area School District curriculum, are helping our students succeed. The award's plaque the school will receive on November 8th in Washington affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. The award's flag to be flown over the school building in perpetuity is a nationally recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.
Like Pickering Valley, all of our DASD schools strive to nurture students to embrace high expectations and make positive contributions in the future. Students at PV and throughout our district participate in a number of yearly service projects such as food drives, clothing collections, and community gardens.
Through all of our Home and School Associations, our great parents cultivate a sense of community through fund-raising 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.
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.
Again, my congratulations to Principal Joe 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 - now a National Blue Ribbon School District.
Larry Mussoline, Superintendent