Schools in Oakwood, Versailles named National Blue Ribbon Schools

Oakwood Junior High and Versailles Elementary are among 13 Ohio schools to be named 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education announced Friday.

“This award is a testament to the focused efforts of our students, the dedication and professionalism of our staff, and the unwavering support and partnership of our families. We are very proud to receive this recognition,” Oakwood Schools Superintendent Kyle Ramey said.

According to Oakwood’s application, students learn in a “culture of high expectations for student achievement, self-management, and respect for self and others,” while learning in a “safe, supportive, and rigorous environment.”

The National Blue Ribbon School award recognizes the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in striving for excellence in education. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes in two categories, Exemplary High-Performing Schools, as measured by student test scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates, and Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools, closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students. Both Oakwood and Versailles fell into the former category.

The Ohio Department of Education nominated Oakwood Junior High in February 2022 for being one of the state’s highest performing schools, based on state assessments completed in spring 2021, the district said.

“To be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School based on our student learning and growth through the first year of the pandemic is an amazing reflection of the tireless efforts of our educators, the fervent support of our families, and the deep investment of our seventh and eighth graders. We have always been inspired by our students, and they are absolutely deserving of this honor,” OJH Principal Tim Badenhop said.

According to Versailles’ application, Versailles has a high focus on “social-emotional learning,” and students are taught to view the work of themselves and others “with respect and pride.”

Brenda Braun, Versailles Elementary principal, said she’s proud of the accomplishments of the students and staff, and feels honored to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

“This week has been a time to celebrate the hard work, dedication and focus of our students, staff, families, and community as evidenced by the Blue Ribbon Award as well as the district’s recently announced report card results and state ranking,” Braun said. “We will continue to be driven by our district’s commitment to educate, prepare and to challenge all students to demonstrate integrity, responsibility and respect in society.”

Versailles Superintendent Aaron Moran said the award reflected the hard work of students and staff over the last three years.

“I am particularly proud of the focus and improvement to instruction made by staff to grow our students to reach their potential,” he said. “We as a district will continue to strive to improve our instructional practices and opportunities for the success of each of our students.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said he applauded the Blue Ribbon honorees “for creating vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school communities where students can learn, grow, reach their potential, and achieve their dreams.”

All winning schools will be recognized at the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Nov. 3 and 4.

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