West Point Elementary School named National Blue Ribbon School

The West Point Elementary School was named one of three U.S. Department of Education, Department of the Army Education Activity Schools to receive the National Blue Ribbon School Award Sept. 28, 2017. Killin Elementary School at Camp Foster Marine Corps Base in Okinawa, Japan, and Patch Middle School at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany, also received the award.
WPES is among the 342 National Blue Ribbon Schools recognized and students, faculty, staff and parents celebrated Dec. 12 at the school. The award is based on overall academic excellence or their progress in closing the achievement gaps among student subgroups.
“Why does West Point equal success, what does success look like every day,” WPES Principal, Denise DeMarco, speaking to her students and parents said. “It looks like student centered learning. It is your faces when you come to school eager to learn. It’s your hard work every day that earned this award. This is very hard to do boys and girls, this is very special, the work of the PTO, volunteers and families, we couldn’t do what we do without the help of everyone standing in this room every day.”
Garrison Commander Col. Andrew Hanson was also on hand to congratulate the students.
“Congratulations to parents, teachers and this amazing faculty,” Hanson said. “This award is special. Our West Point Middle School was awarded the Blue Ribbon Award in 2011. I am very proud of you.”
Part of the summary of the WPES receiving the Blue Ribbon Award by the DoDEA Headquarters spoke about the positive attributes of the WPES.
“West Point Elementary School engages and motivates students and provides a positive environment that supports their academic, social and emotional growth. They recognize that no two students are alike and differentiated learning styles are the norm. Often, student-led learning activities result from interest while the teacher acts as facilitator. Student ownership of their learning is discussed in classrooms and assemblies to remind students of their role in their success.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. This award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

WPES achieves Blue Ribbon

The West Point Elementary School celebrated receiving the National Blue Ribbon School Award Tuesday. The award was given in November. This is the first time the elementary school received the award, but the West Point Middle School has received the award twice in 1996 and 2011. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on fewer than 8,500 schools in 35 years. The program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. See the next Pointer View edition on Jan. 4 for a story on the award.  Photo by Kathy Eastwood/PV

Three DODEA schools, including West Point, win National Blue Ribbon award

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa—Three Department of Defense Education Activity schools—including one on Okinawa and another at West Point—have been selected as National Blue Ribbon winners for academic excellence.

The Department of Education chose Edward C. Killin Elementary at Camp Foster, Okinawa; Patch Middle School at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany; and West Point Elementary School at U.S. Army Garrison West Point, New York, for the honor out of more than 100,000 public, private and charter schools.

The award—given to only 342 U.S. schools—recognizes overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups, a DODEA statement said.

Administrators from the winning schools will travel to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony in November.

Killin—the first Blue Ribbon school on Okinawa since 1996—placed in the top 15th percentile on standardized tests in English/language arts, math, science and social studies during the 2015-16 school year to earn the honor, school officials said.

Killin celebrated with a special ceremony in the cafeteria Oct. 20. Students waved blue pom-poms, sang songs and read essays about why their school stands out.

“It’s a very big honor,” said Killin Assistant Principal Jennifer Sears, who served as acting principal last school year after the retirement of Principal Cindy Templeton. “We had a lot of people who contributed to the success of this, especially with our teachers who were working with those students that were graded on those assessments and all of the specialists and all of our community members, too, that pitched in.”

At the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Paul Rock Jr., commander of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, told the students they are “all very special.”

“It cannot be easy to go so far away from the United States and set up here and do well,” said Rock, who also commands Camp Smedley D. Butler.

After the ceremony, teachers and administrators enjoyed blue punch and cupcakes topped with blue icing and discussed their accomplishment.

“It feels really great to know that all the hard work that all the teachers in the school put in with all of our students paid off,” said math teacher Melanie Horton. “The staff has always been dedicated; they’ve always gone that extra mile for students. They get together; they collaborate to make sure that every student succeeds.”

They also applauded Killin’s students for their emotional intelligence.

“We have a very kind population of students,” Sears said. “They are very giving; they are very sharing; they help one another and you don’t normally see that all the time in public schools. We are very fortunate to have that here … our kids are amazing.”

New Killin Principal Kendra White said the school will not rest on its laurels.

“There’s always things we can do better,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of great things, but let’s get us outstanding.”