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Russell Jones Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School | Community Spirit

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Russell Jones Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School
Russell Jones Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School

ROGERS --The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it will recognize Russell D. Jones Elementary with the top honor of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.  The school’s staff and students are proud to be among the Blue Ribbon Schools that set the standard of excellence for all schools in the United States.

Only three schools in Arkansas were selected for the honor this year and will join the other honorees from across the nation at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., Nov.12-13. Only 5 percent of schools have ever received this honor over the past 30 years. The award is designed to bring public attention to the best schools in the United States and also to share their best practices so others can learn from their success. Bellview Elementary in Rogers also received this award in 2011.

According to the Department of Education, common qualities that can be found in Blue Ribbon Schools are leaders who not only articulate a vision of excellence, but also stay close to the real action of teaching and learning. Everyone - from the students to the teachers to the administrators - is held to high standards. In Blue Ribbon Schools, they also see that data driven decision-making is used to adapt teaching and learning to support every student. Mutual respect and trust are also embedded in the culture of Blue Ribbon Schools.

“Russell Jones Elementary is remarkable in how its staff pulls together to help each child,” said Janie Darr, district superintendent. “Day in and day out they are providing an excellent education for their students by intensely focusing on the individual needs of each child.”

In addition to the special effort of the staff, the school’s parents have also played an important role in supporting the school and its students. Virginia Abernathy, the district’s assistant superintendent for elementary curriculum and instruction, said the involvement of the parents and the community in the school has helped the school reach this high level of success.

“It is an incredible team effort to support the students at Russell Jones,” Abernathy said. “All of the staff, parents and volunteers have contributed to making this a great school.”

The U.S. Education Secretary commended the school for its commitment to student achievement and helping lay the foundation for a great future.

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said of the honor. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

Russell D. Jones Elementary opened in 2001. It is named for a long-time educator and administrator in Rogers. The school has 471 students.

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