Emerick Elementary School in Purcellville has been named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School.
The school was one of seven in Virginia to receive the coveted Blue Ribbon designation and one of 342 nationwide. School staff and students held a party Tuesday to celebrate the honor.
“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated in announcing the honorees. “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.”
National Blue Ribbon Schools are selected based on one of two criteria: performance on state assessments and performance in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups (such as low-income students or English Language Learners) and all students during the past five years while increasing graduation rates for each subgroup.
“That doesn’t come easy,” Emerick Principal Dawn Haddock said of meeting the award criteria. “It doesn’t happen overnight…This is really an accomplishment that you should be very proud of…Thank you for coming (to school) every day and not just giving a little, but giving your all.”
“You should be incredibly proud,” LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams said. “The Blue Ribbon recognition is an important symbol, not only of excellence, but the pursuit of excellence and the closing of achievement gaps. It is really the pursuit that is important to celebrate because it doesn’t just happen in a day. This is a reflection of efforts day in and day out throughout the years.”
Fourth grade teacher Karen Houtz will accompany Haddock to the awards ceremony Nov. 6 and 7 in Washington, DC.
The last Loudoun County public school to receive the Blue Ribbon designation was Belmont Station Elementary in 2011. Other Loudoun schools that have received the award include Meadowland Elementary (2003), Leesburg Elementary (2005) and Lincoln Elementary (2010).