Five New York City public schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2012. The federal awards are given each year to schools where students are performing at high levels, or where significant improvements have been made with students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A total of 269 schools were recognized this year.
The New York City winners are P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry School in Greenpoint, P.S. 191 The Mayflower School in Floral Park, and The Oakland Gardens School P.S. 203 in Bayside. Two charter schools were also chosen,
Bronx Charter School for Excellence and Harlem Success Academy 1.
Carole Nussbaum, who’s been the principal of P.S. 203 for 20 years, said she was surprised by the award because she didn’t even know the school was nominated but she suspected consistently high test scores caught the eye of the judges.
“We got it because we are a community of learners and we all work together,” she said. “We’ve always been a very high scoring school but this year we are ranked academically number six in the city and eight in the state.”
This year 90 percent of her students were proficient on the state’s English Language Arts exams and 97 percent were proficient in math. The school also got four straight A’s on its progress reports from the city.
Nussbaum said her staff is discussing how to celebrate. “We were talking about getting blue ribbons for each of the doors in our school, getting blue ribbons for each of the children.”
P.S. 203 has very few low-income children, as does P.S. 191. But the Brooklyn school, P.S. 34, qualified for federal anti-poverty funds. So did the two charter schools.
“This Blue Ribbon Award goes directly to our exceptionally hard working and talented teachers and amazing scholars whose intelligence, great skill and love of learning surprise me every day,” said Jackie Albers, Principal of the Success Academy 1 in Harlem. The school was the first in a chain created by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.
“It is a joy to come to work knowing that we are making such a profound difference in the lives of children who live in a neighborhood where for years, educational opportunities were limited,” Albers said in a statement sent to reporters.
One hundred percent of the school’s fifth and sixth graders passed the state math exams this year, and 78 percent of all of its students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches.
In selecting Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education requests nominations from the top education official in every state. A total of 417 schools may be nominated. The Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. A ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C. in November.
Last year, five New York City public schools won Blue Ribbons along with two parochial schools in Manhattan.