GREENFIELD — In unison, Eden Elementary students — donning matching blue and gold T-shirts — pledged to do their very best in everything they do.
During a pep rally Thursday, students excitedly cheered as principal Melia Hammons listed their accomplishments.
A four-star school; ISTEP scores that rank in the top 15 percent in the state; and now, the most recent news: a National Blue Ribbon school, the most exciting accomplishment of all, Hammons said.
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For the second time in as many years, a Greenfield-Central school is among the few Indiana schools to earn the National Blue Ribbon School Award, reserved by the United States Department of Education for only the nation’s best schools. Last year, Weston Elementary received the award.
News of the honor spread late last week, and on Thursday students took time to celebrate.
The school on Greenfield’s north side put together a pep rally Thursday to say thanks to the students, families and educators who helped make the award possible.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools for high academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among students. The honor symbolizes exemplary teaching and learning, according to a news release.
This year, seven Hoosier schools were chosen for the award, which has been passed out to more than 8,500 schools nationwide since its inception 35 years ago, a news release states.
Historically, Eden Elementary students have scored well on standardized tests, including ISTEP and IREAD-3, data shows.
The past few years, at least 90 percent of third-graders passed both the English and math portion of the exam. In the same time frame, at least 90 percent of third-graders passed the IREAD-3, an exam given to third-grade students to test reading comprehension.
Superintendent Harold Olin said more than 15 years had passed since a Greenfield-Central school was recognized as a national Blue Ribbon school. Having two schools earn the award in two years tells him educators are doing something right.
“It’s probably the most coveted award there is,” he said. “It’s a big deal.”
Hammons credits a long line of educators for contributing to the award, including past principal Devon Marine, who served as the school’s leader during the nomination period. He’s since moved on to Greenfield Intermediate school but joined the crowd Thursday morning to celebrate his former students’ and coworkers’ accomplishments.
Hammons is honored to work alongside so many wonderful educators, students and families, she said.
The small school cares about every student that walks through its doors, she said. A culture focused on meeting the needs of every student helps make the school successful all around, she said.
She encouraged her students and teachers to keep working hard.
“What you’re doing in the classroom, it’s working,” she said. “Keep up that tradition.”