Whittier Elementary Blue Ribbon School 2017

Whittier Elementary Nationally Recognized as Blue Ribbon School
Whittier Campus

September 28, 2017  U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos named Amarillo ISD’s Whittier Elementary a National Blue Ribbon school.  Whittier was one of 26 Texas nominees selected by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) earlier this year and underwent a rigorous application process to be considered for national recognition.

Founded in 1982, National Blue Ribbon Schools is a U.S. Department of Education program which recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or make notable improvements in closing achievement gaps.

“We believe our efforts are essential to a student’s success when they leave our campus,” said Whittier Principal Bea Enevoldsen. “We equate that time in our elementary school to building a house. If you don’t have a strong foundation, it doesn’t matter how solid the rest of your structure is because with time, it will not hold. What we’re doing at Whittier is building that strong foundation which will go with our students beyond their elementary life.”

Enevoldsen notes collaboration between administrators, teachers, students and parents is key to her school’s success. Focus groups pair administrators with teachers in a daily co-teaching situation that targets identified needs in reading, math, writing or science and there’s a morning homework check-in with parents to provide structured support. An active homework club and book club also help increase learning time.

“We refer so often to our vision to empower scholars to be thinkers, communicators, collaborators and contributors and our mission to graduate students prepared for success beyond high school. We begin building these goals with scholars from the moment they enter our schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Dana West. “We also know to achieve these goals it takes a community. The success we celebrate today with Whittier serves as an example of the progress made when an entire school community comes together.”

In addition to national recognition as one of this year’s 342 Blue Ribbon schools, Whittier has received a number of high performance honors in recent years. The school was named a 2015 Honor Roll School by the Educational Results Partnership; last fall, the TEA recognized Whittier as a high performing, high progress campus and featured Whittier in a TEA video series highlighting the best practices of select, high-performing Title I schools.

South Lawn Elementary is AISD’s most recent Blue Ribbon School, earning the recognition in 2015.

For more information about 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools, please visit https://nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/

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