The Ohio Department of Education has nominated Orchard Middle School for the U.S. Department of Education’s prestigious National Blue Ribbon School Award.
Orchard is one of only 11 Ohio schools nominated for the 2013 award.
Orchard’s nomination is based on the high student achievement as rated by the Ohio’s 2011-12 accountability measures.
To qualify as an "exemplary high performing school" under the U.S. Department of Education guidelines, Orchard student achievement levels on state assessments in both reading and math for fifth and sixth grade ranked in the top tier of all Ohio schools.
“A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag waving overhead has become a trademark of excellence, a symbol of quality recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. “The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes elementary and secondary schools throughout the United States that make significant progress in closing achievement gaps or whose students achieve at superior levels. The program guidelines charge state departments of education with nominating schools that meet federally defined achievement criteria.
At least one-third of a state’s nominated schools must have student populations in which 40 percent or more of the families are classified as economically disadvantaged. Other nominated schools, like those in Solon, must meet the superior achievement benchmark.
Only 417 schools nationwide may be nominated each year, and each state is limited in how many schools it may nominate based on the number of students in the state.
The 2013 Blue Ribbon School award winners will be announced in September after federal education officials validate the nominees’ student achievement results for the current school year.