By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
For most educators, winning awards isn’t a top priority; teaching and having children grasp learning is considered more important. But last week, Fort Knox’s Kingsolver Elementary School was recognized for its achievements when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced it as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School.
Kingsolver was one of three DoDEA schools that will receive the esteemed award.
According to a Depart-ment of Defense news article, the Blue Ribbon Schools Program annually recognizes approximately 300 public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students are performing at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in student achievements.
“The Department of Education gives out the award in two different categories,” explained Laura Gibson, Kingsolver principal. “One category is for schools (that) close the gap for students who are at risk or low achieving. The other category is for highly- performing schools and that’s where we fell. We were very honored to even be nominated.”
Gibson said the school’s third graders’ TerraNova scores had shown a significant increase over a five-year period. Students were tested in five categories, including reading; language; math; science and social studies. Students scored in the 86 percentile in those categories in 2013, a 16 percent increase from 2009.
Dr. Frank Calvano, the DoDEA Kentucky district superintendent, said most schools score in the 50 percentile and it’s a fantastic thing when a school scores in the 60 percentile.
“When you (score) in the 70 and 80 percentile, that’s over the top; it’s a rare achievement for any school in any district,” said Calvano. “It’s a real prestigious award.”
“(It’s) the highest award a school can receive in the country,” Gibson said. “(I’m) proud of our students and teachers. (We would like to) plan some sort of celebration assembly (when) we (receive) the award in November.”
Calvano said it was a collective effort by teachers, students and the staff at central office which enabled the school to win the award.
“It’s the whole village—parents, staff, teachers,” he explained. “It’s the village educating the child. When those come together you get positive outcomes.”