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|VJH nominated for national award|
Vidalia Junior High is one of six Louisiana schools nominated by the state as a Blue Ribbon School, a national honor which recognizes student achievement.
The U.S. Department of Education notified VJH of its nomination, part of the No Child Left Behind program which "distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap," according to Aba S. Kumi, director of the government's Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
The program focuses on two assessment criteria:
-- That students, regardless of their background, "achieve" in the top 10 percent on state tests.
-- That the students have shown "dramatic improvement" in performance "to high levels on state tests with at least 40 percent from disadvantaged backgrounds."
"We are all excited about being recognized nationally as a Blue Ribbon School," said VJH Principal Whest Shirley. "Any time you're in the top six in the state, we must be doing something right. We were recognized basically because we have made significant progress in closing the achievement gap."
He said "our students are offered a variety of opportunities to enhance their chances of success on state tests. We offer before and after school tutoring in core subjects, writing and math workshops on Saturday morning, test-taking workshops, mock testing on both the LEAP and iLEAP tests. On-line practice testing is also available in our computer lab on Thursday nights."
Shirley said the "bottom line is that we have high expectations for ourselves and our students. I have a tremendous faculty that will go the extra mile for their students. However, the deciding factor is our students. They make school attendance a priority, participate in our various programs, and achieve a high level of success on state tests."
"We are very proud of this special nomination received by VJH," said Supt. Loretta Blankenstein. "Only six schools from Louisiana were nominated. It is indeed an honor for each and everyone who is a part of VJH. They work to help their students learn for life, not just for the test. Growth in student achievement begins there on day one."
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Blue Ribbons program has honored more than 5,800 U.S. schools during the past 26 years. Winning schools are given a Blue Ribbon School flag which, says Kumi, is "a trademark of excellence, a symbol of quality recognized by everyone from parents to policy makers in thousands of communities."
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