Three schools nominated for Blue Ribbon status


Three local schools may have a national designation honoring their excellence by the end of the year.

North Spencer’s Lincoln Trail Elementary, Southeast Dubois’s Ferdinand Elementary and Southwest Dubois’s Holland Elementary were all among the eight elementary, middle and high schools the Indiana Department of Education nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools program this year.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Ferdinand Elementary Principal Tyler Lemen.

The U.S. Department of Education awards National Blue Ribbon School status to public and private elementary, middle, and high schools to honor overall academic excellence or progress in closing the achievement gaps among subgroups. To be considered, schools must first be nominated by the department of education in their state.

Since the award was created in 1982, only about 8,500 schools across the nation have won.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Holland Elementary Principal John Seger. “I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m not only happy for Holland, but for the entire school corporation to have a school recognized like that.”

Schools found out they were nominated at the end of January via email. From there, the schools had to fill out an extensive application that asked about the school’s daily routines, curriculum, community and history, among other topics. Each section included a narrative section that allowed the schools to tell a story that would make them stand out.

“Of course we mentioned our NBA starts, Don Buse and Gene Tormohlen,” said Darla Werne, a second grade teacher at Holland who served on the application committee. “We felt like that showed the old Dutch work ethic that shows what Holland is all about.”

At Ferdinand Elementary, the staff already had some experience with the Blue Ribbon application process. The school won the designation in 2012 and was nominated last year, as well. Still, Lemen said, they didn’t recreate previous applications when putting together this year’s.

“A lot changes in six years,” Lemen said.

Schools had until the end of March to complete the application, but it will still be months before they find out if they won. Winners are scheduled to be announced in September.

Both Lemen and Werne hoped their applications were good enough to come out on top.

“We just laid it all out there,” Lemen said. “We hope what we shared will be enough to get it.”

Werne had similar thoughts.

“We are a good school,” she said. “We just hope we put enough of our information in there to let everyone else know we’re a good school.”

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