Ranchvale Elementary wins national honor

Liliana Castillo

Ranchvale Elementary School is one of just three New Mexico schools — 314 in the U.S. — named a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School.

The announcement came late Thursday.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or have demonstrated dramatic gains in student achievement, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Ranchvale is the second Blue Ribbon School in Clovis after Mesa Elementary School, which earned the designation in 2001.

Ranchvale Principal Suzanne Brockmeier said the school’s dedicated staff of teachers and students deserve the recognition.

“They have worked really hard,” she said. “I’m thrilled.”

Blue Ribbon Schools are either academically superior or demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement.

Ranchvale Elementary has increased 16 points in reading and jumped 33 points in mathematics over the last five years.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Cindy Martin said the school has always done well and has made Adequate Yearly Progress in at least one category each year.

“They’ve always done well but they didn’t just sit on their laurels. They worked hard to have their students progress. They are continually getting better and better,” she said.

Martin said the process of increasing student success is a rigorous one.

“They look at many characteristics of the school,” Martin said. “They look at student achievement, community participation, to extra things the school does above and beyond for students, so all students can reach a high level of achievement.”

Martin said despite budget cuts, teachers are working harder.

“It’s nice for a school to be noticed. They have raised the bar and students have reached it,” she said.

Brockmeier said two processes helped the school increase student performance.

She said teachers use number literacy tools, giving children a hands-on way to learn how numbers work and a literacy framework for reading. She said the literacy framework is “very student-centered” and assessments are used often.

“We take students to the next step of what they needed. We’re meeting each child on their level and pushing them up some,” she said.

The schools — 254 public and 50 private — will be honored at an awards ceremony on Nov. 15 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.