Two local schools are among nearly 300 schools across the country named 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the federal government.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has recognized Morgan Township Elementary School in the East Porter County School Corp. and Salk Elementary School in the Merrillville Community School Corp. as National Blue Ribbon Schools.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program award recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students either achieve high learning standards or are making notable improvements toward those standards.
Duncan has invited two representatives — typically a school principal and teacher or staff member — of those schools honored to Washington, D.C., for the Nov. 18 and 19 recognition ceremony, where they will be presented with the National Blue Ribbon Schools plaque and flag. The representatives also are invited to share their ideas and initiatives with the department to strengthen educational practices across the country.
East Porter County Superintendent Rod Gardin congratulated his students, teachers, instructional assistants and other support staff, parents and administrators for the honor.
"Everyone who works at Morgan Township Elementary should be so proud of this amazing accomplishment," Gardin said. "It was a team working together to provide not only top-notch instruction, but also the care and support needed to make the school environment a place where students can flourish."
Merrillville Superintendent Mark Sperling said the national honor makes all the hard work done at Salk worth it. Sperling said what the staff has accomplished is incredible.
"Having it recognized by the State and National Departments of Education just adds to our belief that our students rise above in their academic achievement to be one of the very best of all elementary schools across the Nation,” he said.
Kara Bonin, former long-time principal at Salk and now the director of Merrillville's elementary curriculum and instruction, said being named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School is a reflection of the “Kids First” belief of Salk Elementary.
"This recognition is a validation of the effort, dedication, and 'no excuse' motto of the Salk staff, students and parents. We are so honored and humbled by this honor," she said.