Westside Elementary School is one of the best in the U.S.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education named Westside a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. The honor is being bestowed on just 349 schools across the country this year — and only three in Wyoming.
“Just to tell you how rare this is: There are school districts in the state who have never had a Blue Ribbon School,” said Jay Curtis, superintendent of Park County School District No. 1. “This is pretty special.”
The honor is especially rare since it’s the second time Westside has been designated a National Blue Ribbon School, he said. Westside received its first Blue Ribbon award in 2004.
Each of Powell’s three elementary schools have received the honor — Parkside in 2012 and Southside in 2014.
The Wyoming Department of Education selects schools in the state for the honor.
“They handpick the schools that get it, and they have to go through an application process,” Curtis said.
Since 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has set a standard of excellence and honored schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, according to the state department of education.
Westside earned the honor as an “exemplary high
performing school” — one of the highest performing schools in Wyoming as measured by assessments.
More than 80 percent of Westside students meet their growth target, Curtis said.
“That is a feat beyond feats,” he said.
Westside will celebrate its recognition with a ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the school. State and local officials have been invited.
Westside also will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C, on Nov. 7-8.
“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a Monday video message to the honorees. “Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs.”
Wyoming’s other two National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018 are Sagebrush Elementary School in Sheridan and Snowy Range Academy in Laramie.