A blue ribbon celebration
Out of hundreds of schools, In our state. Heart of the Lakes, Is in the top eight. Let's Celebrate! Hundreds of elementary students chimed in with the "Celebration Rap," a hip-hop ditty written and composed for a very special occasion Oct. 23. "P...
Out of hundreds of schools,
In our state.
Heart of the Lakes,
Is in the top eight.
Hundreds of elementary students chimed in with the "Celebration Rap," a hip-hop ditty written and composed for a very special occasion Oct. 23.
"Put on your thinking caps," said Todd Zoellick, regional representative of the U.S. Department of Education to the gym full of kids and teachers at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School. "Think about all of the United States... there are 220,000 schools in the country, and only 280 were picked for blue ribbons. You are part of a very small, very special group."
Earlier this spring, Perham's Heart of the Lakes school was named a "No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon School." Perham was one of eight Minnesota schools to earn this distinction.
Monday morning was the first official celebration of the Blue Ribbon.
Superintendent Tamara Uselman served as Master of Ceremonies for the festivities, as Principal Kim Grengs was sick.
Opening the program was a group of Heart of the Lakes "alumni" students. Now students at the Prairie Wind Middle School, these youth created signs and wrote a hip-hop tune "Celebration Rap" to present to the younger students--under the direction of teacher Patricia Hamann.
Special guest Zoellick was introduced by Uselman as a representative directly from President George W. Bush.
"Thank you for the great work you do every day," said Zoellick, who noted that the Perham Heart of the Lakes school will now be a model for schools nationwide.
Zoellick is one of the Department of Education's top officials for the region, which includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Since his appointment by Bush in 2005, he has visited more than 100 schools throughout all six states to celebrate achievements and explain federal education policy.
He congratulated all the Heart of the Lakes elementary students, but also urged them to thank their teachers, principals and administrators, and all staff--including kitchen and custodial--for their hard work. And finally, he asked the kids to thank the broader community for its support of education.
The No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior in their states or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement.
Heart of the Lakes Elementary (HOTL) won the award based on its test scores. The school scored in the top 10 percent on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments in both reading and mathematics and had at least 40 percent disadvantaged students.
The school received a call from Commissioner Alice Seagren congratulating the school and the staff on their achievements. "We are honored to have won such a prestigious award," said Principal Kim Grengs. "We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff and a supportive community."
Grengs will be accepting the award on November 10 in Washington D.C., along with teacher Tracy Hein.
The No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon School program concluded that Heart of the Lakes Elementary met the challenge with extraordinary commitment and enthusiasm and would like to congratulate the students, administrators, parents and board members whose hard work and dedication to excellence made this honor possible.
"Your principal will be awarded a plaque when she comes to Washington, D.C." said Zoellick to the Heart of the Lakes students gathered in the gym. "The plaque will be on display in the school...and whenever you walk by it, we want you to look at it and remember how proud we are of each and every one of you."