Department of Defense Education Activity

For Immediate Release — September 15, 2011 | HQ

ARLINGTON, VA — West Point Middle School, a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school, is one of 304 schools selected today by the Department of Education as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School. The Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that have helped close the achievement gap and whose students attain and maintain high academic goals. West Point Middle School is among the more than 6,000 schools that have received the coveted award over the past 28 years.

The Blue Ribbon Program is part of a larger Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. Blue Ribbon Schools represent the spectrum of the diversity of American Education – urban, suburban, and rural; large and small; traditional and innovative. Blue Ribbon Schools serve students of every social, economic, and ethnic background. While Blue Ribbon Schools are diverse in their nature, they share similar qualities – their leaders articulate a vision of excellence and stay close to the real action of teaching and learning. Teachers, students, and administrators adhere to high standards. Teaching and learning to support every student is consistently based on data. Blue Ribbon Schools are rich in mutual respect and trust among all community members.

“We are thrilled that West Point Middle School was selected as one of this year’s Blue Ribbon Schools,” said Marilee Fitzgerald, Acting DoDEA Director. “The entire school community is poised to enable students to achieve and succeed. This honor is a reflection of the commitment to excellence that the administrators, teachers, and staff of West Point Middle School exhibit every day. Our goal is to have even more DoDEA schools selected for this honor next year.”

Mr. Mike Gould, Superintendent of DoDEA’s New York/Virginia/Puerto Rico District, which oversees operations at West Point Middle School echoed Ms. Fitzgerald’s praise.

“The faculty, staff, and administration foster a culture of high expectations for all students,” said Gould. “They’re committed to student success and the parents and community at West Point demonstrate an ongoing commitment to similar values. This group of professionals and the supportive school community are a team that truly deserves this recognition.”

The Blue Ribbon School awards program was developed by the second Secretary of Education, Terrel H. Bell who was best known for commissioning the study of American education that resulted in A Nation at Risk.

Public schools are nominated by the Chief State School Officers (CSSOs) and by officials at DoDEA and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

  Although DoDEA schools are considered public schools, because they administer the norm-referenced TerraNova3 assessment, DoDEA schools are nominated based on the criteria for private schools. In any given year, there is a potential for 413 schools to be nominated for the Blue Ribbon Award. DoDEA has not participated in the Blue Ribbon Schools award program since 2002.

All nominees must qualify as either:
  • ·   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.
  • ·   Improvement to High Levels – schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and have improved student performance to high levels in reading (English Language Arts) and mathematics on state assessments or assessments referenced against national norms.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality, public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, the United States, Cuba, Guam and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.