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West Side School named a Blue Ribbon school

West Side Elementary School in Elizabethton was among seven schools recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”
The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.
Other schools receiving the honors in Tennessee were Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro; Foothills Elementary School in Maryville; Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State; Holy Rosary Academy in Nashville; and Lipscomb Elementary School in Brentwood.
John Wright is principal at West Side Elementary School, which prides itself
on being a “Reading School.”
“We believe in the importance of developing children’s discreet word-reading skills and comprehension and the need to engender their love of books and reading. West Side recognizes that the two elements are intertwined with each, relying on the other for children to become life-long readers, so we place reading and books at the center of the curriculum.”
Being able to read well is a key life skill for children, whatever their background. Every child can learn to read with the right teaching and support. Not all children will have had the opportunity to develop a love of reading at home, so this has to be taught and encouraged at school. Time is built in the school day for all children to read independently, read aloud and be read to. A coherent whole-school strategy for promoting reading for pleasure has been developed. Money and time is spent to support reading, by purchasing books and developing the school environment. Every teacher at West Side is an advocate for reading. West Side involves parents to ensure the culture of reading that is developed at school extends into the home. It is a priority at West Side that every child learns to love books!,” was the profile of the school given on the National Blue Ribbon website.
The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores, and graduation rates:
• Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
• Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students. Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE). The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13. While we regret not having the opportunity to celebrate in person, given the current situation regarding COVID-19, we will celebrate the 317 public and 50 non-public school honorees in the ways that we are able, and they will each receive their plaques and flags via mail.

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