Ila Elementary teachers, staff, county and school administrators, Partners in Education and others recently gathered in the school’s media center recently to celebrate Ila’s nomination for National Blue Ribbon School status. The reception was held to honor teachers and staff for being nominated for the award.
Former Ila Elementary School student Joseph Jones greeted Ila teachers and staff, many whose faces were familiar to him. He commended them for their continued student achievement and shared some of his memories of being an “Ila Gator.”
Jones recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He credited Ila Elementary and the Madison County school system for his academic success.
The No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon Schools program honors both public and private K-12 schools that either demonstrate academically superior performance in their states, or dramatic gains in student achievement. The program requires schools to meet either of the two assessment criteria.
Blue Ribbon also recognizes schools that dramatically show improved test performance in accordance with the state assessment systems for those students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The school must have at least a population of 40 percent of its students in that criterion, and those students must score in the top ten percent on state assessments.
“We have not been officially informed as to the category that we were chosen,” Ila Elementary assistant principal Sandra Seymour said. “I do not think this is truly written or commented on until the awards are given; therefore, we can not know at this point. It is my assumption that we have qualified based on top 10 percent because we have not had drastically improved scores at Ila - we have had great scores all along.”
The school will be notified whether or not it has received the award in September.
“Even if the Blue Ribbon Award is not given, students parents, staff and the administration of Ila Elementary should be commended on their accomplishments,” officials said.
“Dedication, hard work and a true love for children goes into obtaining such recognition,” officials added.
Ila Elementary administrators applaud the outstanding teaching and high expectations of student achievement, which leads to success.
“Teachers here rise above standards of mediocrity and inspire students to reciprocate,” administrators said. “Good job Gators.”
Madison County Schools superintendent Mitch McGhee announced the school’s honor at this month’s board of education meeting.
The state nominates each school, McGhee told the board. “So Ila Elementary is in very elite company – that’s just to get nominated,” he said.
If Ila wins the award, the school’s principal and one teacher will receive a free trip to Washington D.C. that includes meeting the national secretary of education and perhaps President Obama.
“It’s Ila Elementary School, but it’s a great reflection of the county as a whole,” McGhee noted.