Yesterday, The Bloomsburg Daily was lucky enough to be a part of an assembly at the Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary School celebrating a national achievement. The US Department of Education has honored Memorial Elementary as one of 304 schools named a National Blue Ribbon School award winner. The Bloomsburg Daily shared more information about this amazing recognition yesterday.
The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award. Mr. Ryan Moran, Principal at Memorial Elementary School noted that, “Memorial Elementary school is one of five schools in the State to receive this prestigious award for academic excellence.”
To celebrate the achievement a school-wide assembly was held on Wednesday, December 7, 2011. During the assembly, the school’s achievements were highlighted. Additionally, distinguished speakers included Mr. Michael Walsh, Deputy to the Secretary of Education and Dr. David Soltz, Bloomsburg University President. After the event, Mr. Moran took some time answer a few questions about the achievement and what it means to him, the school, and the community.
The Bloomsburg Daily wants to sincerely thank the entire Memorial Elementary community for inviting us in and taking the time to share their story with us. All of us here are so proud of the accomplishments at Bloomsburg Memorial. Enjoy the photos from photographer, Bob Rush.
TBD: Can you tell us what Memorial had to do to be recognized for this award? Is it for closing a gap or for overall academic success?
Mr. Moran: Public schools are nominated by the Chief State School Officers (CSSOs). All nominees must qualify as either (1) high performing—schools in their states as measured by state tests in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics or assessments referenced against national norms, or (2) improvement to high levels.
Our school qualified for its improvement to high levels in the areas of reading and mathematics and for closing the gap in achievement, especially among disadvantaged students and students who receive special education services. Improving schools must have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds (students eligible for free and reduced-priced meals).
At the time of our application, Memorial’s student population was comprised of 67% students receiving free and reduced-priced meals.
TBD: What does it mean to you as principal to see your school receive this award?
Mr. Moran: Receiving this distinction is one of the highest honors schools in America can receive for academic achievement. Memorial is one of five elementary schools in the state of Pennsylvania to earn this highly coveted award as most improved school in 2011. It is an honor that represents many years of teamwork, dedication, and commitment on behalf of the students, parents, staff, and community.
As principal, I could not be prouder then I am right now of our students, staff, parents, and community. A great school takes many hands! Each and every person works hard to ensure that the students receive the necessary supports to succeed. This prestigious award validates that we are on the right track and that together we can overcome any obstacle.
The Award also re-energizes staff, parents, and students. You must believe you are great in order to be great and achieve great things. My hope is that through the recognition of this award, our students’ level of pride, confidence, and self-respect grow to new heights. The boundaries are limitless.
TBD: How long have you been principal at Memorial? How long have you been in Bloomsburg?
Mr. Moran: This is my 5th year as principal. I lived in Bloomsburg for 4 years while attending BU. I graduated from Bloomsburg University in 1999 with a degree in elementary education. After graduating I relocated to Maryland to start my career in education. I moved back to Bloomsburg in 2007 after accepting the principal position at Memorial.
TBD: Given the events of this fall with the flood, what should the whole community know about the school and is there anything you’d like people to know about how you feel about the community?
Mr. Moran:Our school’s overall success can be attributed to the continued dedication and commitment of students, staff, parents, and the community. Together we focus on establishing positive relationships, continuous improvement, and meeting the diverse needs of “Our Children.” I want to thank the community and parents who continuously go above and beyond to provide the best educational and life experiences for our students.