NPHS NAMED NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL!
September 7, 2012By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School
New Palestine High School is proud to announce that it has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the announcement this morning from Washington.
The Blue Ribbon Schools program annually recognizes the top schools in the United States. New Palestine is one of 269 schools in the United States to receive the honor, out of more than 138,000 schools nationwide. The Blue Ribbon Schools program exists to honor and bring attention to schools with high academic standards or those who have shown significant academic improvement. The program has annually recognized the top U.S. schools since 1982.
New Palestine is deemed a high-performing school under the Blue Ribbon nomination process, as students have scored well in English and math subject area tests compared to national scores. To qualify, the school’s standardized test scores in both English and mathematics must be among the state’s highest, and it must meet the federal Adequate Yearly Progress benchmark for three straight years. NPHS students pass both tests at a clip that is 15 percent higher than the state averages. The English 10 end of course assessment pass rate is 86.6 percent, the Algebra I pass rate is 87.3 percent. Its 93.5 percent four-year cohort graduation rate is also among the state’s highest.
"This is a tremendous honor for our school and community,” NPHS principal Keith Fessler said. “It represents the hard work of the New Palestine High School staff and students and reflects the commitment of our district as a whole, as well as the support of our community. This award would not have been possible without any of these factors."
New Palestine was nominated for the award by the Indiana Department of Education, and compiled a lengthy application during the 2011-12 school year which included test score data, a summary of the school’s strengths, traditions, successful academic strategies, the professional development program for teachers and the nature of the community. A Blue Ribbon School needs to show high-performing attributes for five straight years.
Located in southern Hancock County in Indianapolis’ southeast suburbs, New Palestine High School currently educates 1,111 students with a faculty of 52 teachers, three guidance counselors and three administrators. It maintains a 23:1 student-teacher ratio and has a small five-percent turnover rate. It maintains a robust athletic program that has won four IHSAA state championships in the last decade, and award-winning co-curricular programs in choral music, marching band, engineering and journalism. NPHS is the lone high school in the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County, which includes three elementary schools and one middle school.
NPHS is also an Indiana Four-Star School, an annual award granted by the Indiana Department of Education. NPHS has received the honor almost annually over the last decade. The Blue Ribbon School designation is a testament to the community’s support of education, and also to the quality of education throughout the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County.
"Southern Hancock County Schools have been recognized many times in the past for our excellence in education,” superintendent James Halik said. “This National Blue Ribbon Award for New Palestine High School is a significant achievement. It is the highest award a school can receive at the national level and it validates the quality of education we provide our children. This is a positive reflection on the hard work and dedication of our school staff and on our entire community."
New Palestine is one of eight Indiana schools – and two Indiana high schools – to receive the honor. Fellow Hoosier Heritage Conference member Yorktown is also being recognized today. The two schools plan to recognize their joint honor in a ceremony prior to their Sept. 21 football game at New Palestine’s Kelso Stadium.
Fessler will lead a delegation from New Palestine to Washington, D.C. to receive the Blue Ribbon School recognition on Nov. 12-13.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING …
"This is a tremendous honor for our school and community. It represents the hard work of the New Palestine High School staff and students and reflects the commitment of our district as a whole, as well as the support of our community. This award would not have been possible without any of these factors."
Keith Fessler, NPHS principal
"A commitment to excellence in our schools is far more than rhetoric for us. Each day, our parents, teachers, staff and volunteers support our students' efforts to excel. This award recognizes the dedication of our entire New Palestine community. It is an incredible honor."
William Niemier, Southern Hancock school board president
"Southern Hancock County Schools have been recognized many times in the past for our excellence in education. This National Blue Ribbon Award for New Palestine High School is a significant achievement. It is the highest award a school can receive at the national level and it validates the quality of education we provide our children. This is a positive reflection on the hard work and dedication of our school staff and on our entire community."
James Halik, Southern Hancock superintendent
“The National Blue Ribbon Schools award recognizes the day-to-day hard work and dedication of our teachers and our students and our community, and recognizes this pattern of effort and excellence over the course of years. It takes five years of steady improvement in all students to be nominated for the award. Failure in any one area disqualifies a school from consideration. To sustain these levels of student achievement we have students who are invested in their personal success and goals, parents who recognize the importance of daily attendance (95 percent of our students come to school every day) and the value of a high school diploma (in average, 95 percent of our students graduate each year), and teachers with experience, knowledge, and dedication to our students' success. At a time when teachers are under ever-greater scrutiny, the entire staff at NPHS welcomes the recognition and confirmation and accolades this award brings.”
Caroline Clayton, NPHS English teacher and chairperson of the NPHS School Improvement Committee
“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”
Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education