Local school named among nation’s best

GREENFIELD — Tiny, blue paper ribbons adorn doors throughout Weston Elementary School, placed there by staff members celebrating students’ and educators’ most recent accomplishment.

The Greenfield-Central elementary school was named a National Blue Ribbon school, joining just eight other Hoosier schools to earn the award this year from the U.S. Department of Education. Weston is the first Greenfield-Central school to earn the honor, said principal Shane Bryant.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools for academic excellence and progress in closing achievement gaps among students. The honor symbolizes exemplary teaching and learning.

The school was nominated for the award by the Indiana Department of Education for its high scores on tests such as ISTEP and IREAD-3, Bryant said.

On ISTEP, Weston has averaged an 80 to 90 percent pass rate in both English and math the past four years, the school’s application for the award states. In the same time frame, at least 97 percent of third-graders passed the IREAD-3, an exam given to third-grade students to test reading comprehension.

The Indiana Department of Education nominated the school for the award in January, and educators turned in an application for further consideration for the award in March.

Bryant said when he learned Weston had been nominated for the high honor, he was shocked.

The honor validates the hard work educators and students have accomplished over the years, Bryant said. The application included data from the past four years, and Bryant credits former Weston principal Steve Burt, who left the position in 2014, for laying a firm foundation Bryant and other educators been able to build upon.

Teachers, students and staff celebrated the award Friday morning with a parade, and first-grade teacher Trina Griesmeyer said she expects celebrations to continue all year.

The award boosts morale among everyone at the school, she said, and it’s an achievement all members of the Weston Elementary community should take pride in.

“It’s a great motivation for the kids and for the teachers,” she said. “It’s a collective award we want to share.”

Next month, Bryant and a teacher will travel to Washington, D.C., for an award celebration, where the school will receive a plaque and banner declaring it a National Blue Ribbon School.

Educators will hang the banner at the school, where it will fly for years to come, serving as a reminder of past achievements and future goals.

“This is a springboard for us,” Bryant said. “We’re going to continue to do great things.”

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.