2015 National Blue Ribbon School
Elizabethtown Area School District’s Mill Road Elementary School was honored by the United States Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015. This exclusive and prestigious designation was a result of the school community’s unflinching dedication and commitment to support all students in reaching high academic standards.
The 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognized public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. Mill Road Elementary was recognized in the category of Exemplary High Performing Schools, those that are among their state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or national tests.
School and district administration traveled to Washington D.C. on November 9-10, 2015, to be a part of the 2015 National Blue Ribbon School Awards Ceremony where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will bestow the recognition on the 335 public and private schools nationwide (13 from Pennsylvania) that have earned the distinction. As part of the ceremony, the award-winning schools will be celebrated for being shining examples of how parents, teachers, administrators, support staff, and community leaders can work together on behalf of young people.
Less than one percent of public schools in America earned Blue Ribbon status in 2015. Mill Road Elementary School’s designation was a culmination of an extensive process that took into account six years worth of school performance and collaboration data. To be considered for the honor, award-winning schools had to be specially invited to apply by their state’s department of education. Applicants were evaluated on their curriculum; instructional methods and interventions; quantitative and qualitative indicators of academic success in the areas of school climate, family and community engagement, professional development, and school leadership; and assessment results on state standardized assessments.
Mill Road Elementary School is one of only three schools in central Pennsylvania to receive Blue Ribbon status in 2015 and the only school in the Elizabethtown Area School District to ever receive the designation.
Highlights of Mill Road’s Blue Ribbon application in each judged criteria area are as follows:
- Re-designed standards-based curriculum focusing on deeper understanding of reading/English Language Arts (ELA) and math concepts as well as integration of science and social studies concepts
- Special area teachers integrated reading/ELA and math curriculum concepts and vocabulary into their subject area instruction
- Blocked schedules provided opportunity for efficient instruction for all tiers of Response to Instruction and Intervention and differentiated instruction through flexible grouping
- Academic success evident through increase in proficient scores from 2010- 2014 by 5% in math and 23% in reading/ELA
- Involved all teachers in development of school-wide academic goal and continuous improvement discussions
- Kept parents informed of their children’s progress
- Teachers, students, parents, PTO and community members involved in academic and social programs for the school
- Professional development provided through various types of meetings on yearly, monthly, quarterly and bi-weekly basis
- Shared school leadership through teacher membership on one of three building decision-making committees