POCAHONTAS - Students and staff at the Pocahontas Area Community Elementary School have earned a blue ribbon for the year.
This prestigious prize wasn't just awarded at the state or local level, PAC Elementary Principal Lynn Moody said, but at the national level. The school was selected as one of 320 schools nationwide to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2008 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School.
"It's quite an honor," Moody said. "All of our staff is very proud. They've worked really hard."
To be eligible for the award, schools must show a significant increase on standardized testing scores in spite of any social, economic, minority or language barriers within the school district, or be in the top 10 percent overall in their state with test scores. Every state has its own process in which to nominate schools for the award. In Iowa, Pocahontas Area was one of five schools nominated for the award, which also included an application process requiring school officials to describe what the district had done to assist and motivate students to improve on their test scores, as well as teaching strategies and school climate.
Moody said that within the school, he made it a priority for teachers to emphasize the importance of testing, but that many people truly deserve the credit for helping the school to achieve such recognition.
"It's a team effort between all of us," Moody said. "The students did the work, but they couldn't have done it without the help of their teachers and parents. This is really the community's award."
The award was presented by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at a conference held Oct. 20-21 in Washington, D.C. PAC Elementary teachers Terri Samuelson and Cathy Hoag represented the school and accepted the plaque of recognition. They later presented the award to the students at a special assembly upon returning home.
"It's very inspiring to be one of only 320 out of 137,000 U.S. schools to have received this national recognition," Hoag said. "Pocahontas Area has always taken pride in being a leader in academic excellence."
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