On Tuesday, September 30, Hillside Elementary School was recognized by U.S.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan as one of 337 National Blue Ribbon Schools for
2014 based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement
The Department will honor 287 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on just under 7,900 of America's schools, including Hillside once before in 1986.
"National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts," Secretary Duncan said in a U.S. Department of Education news release. "We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student."
The National Blue Ribbon Schools affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content, according to the news release. All schools are recognized in one of two performance categories: Exemplary High Performing Schools or Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools.
Hillside is receiving the honor as an Exemplary High Performing School, which is based on being among the state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
"I want to congratulate all of our hard working faculty and staff, parents, and students - past and present - as this honor belongs to all of them," Hillside Principal Dr. Shireen Fasciglione said. "It is only by working and learning together that accomplishments like this happen, and I am proud to lead a school that is committed to growing together every day."
The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Nominated schools submit an application, which Dr. Fasciglione and faculty members at Hillside completed during the 2013-14 school year.
Dr. Fasciglione and first grade teacher Mary Burke will be the school's official representatives at the Washington D.C. ceremony in November. Members of the team of eight faculty members who worked on the application are also making plans to be there for the honor.
Hillside celebrated its 50th anniversary during the last school year, and many former teachers returned as guests of honor for a special "Hello Hillside" assembly to mark the occasion. The school is home to about 340 students.