2018-02-08 / News

Melrose a National Blue Ribbon finalist

Melrose School, which has been commended by the state Department of Education for three consecutive years, is now being recognized nationally.

Principal Carrie Petersen received notice her elementary school has been nominated for a National Blue Ribbon, an achievement awarded annually to the best schools across the United States. Fewer than 9,000 schools, public, private and charter, have been presented with the coveted award since the program’s founding in 1982.

“We could not be any happier,” said B.J. Whitehouse, chairman of the school committee. “We could not be any prouder of the work that has been done.”

Schools are recognized for closing achievement gaps and posting high test scores. Melrose was nominated for being “exemplary high performing,” which requires the school must have the highest achieving students in English and mathematics, measured by state assessments. Only about 700 schools are expected to be honored in 2018, which is roughly 0.5 percent of the schools nationwide.

Sarah Baines, a member of the school board since November 2011, described the “long road” it has taken to reach such heights, including stringent state-mandated curriculum overhauls and restructuring the administration from a part-time superintendent.

“It was a difficult time for the schools,” said Baines about her early years on the committee. “It was a staggering amount of work.”

“Now, we can all sit back and see how that hard work has paid off,” Whitehouse added.

With the nomination period complete, Petersen will work on the application, which is due by March 30. The U.S. Department of Education will notify the winners in August.

“It is the highest achievement award we can receive,” she said. “The nomination is just thrilling. I’m just so proud of everyone, the teachers, the staff, the families. We’re all in it together.”

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