Wyndmere Public School was named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education for exemplary student achievement Tuesday, Sept. 21.
“We are just thrilled and excited that our community, students, staff, faculty have been able to work to achieve a level of education that merits being nominated and then being a recipient of this award. We’re really grateful for everyone at all levels for contributing to the students’ education,” Wyndmere Public School Superintendent Anthony Morrison said.
Blue ribbon schools are recognized for the overall academic achievement of their students or progress in closing achievement gaps between students, according to the U.S. Department of Education website.
Wyndmere was one of three recipients in North Dakota, which also included Valley-Edinburg Elementary School in Crystal, North Dakota, and Roosevelt Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.
Wyndmere Public School, along with the other two winners in North Dakota, were nominated by the State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler.
An announcement was made to students at an assembly held Tuesday morning.
“They didn’t know what the announcement was going to be. But when Mr. Morrison said it was going to be some positive, you saw them get more excited. And then when I did make the announcement they celebrated louder than they did in the pep rally,” High School Principal Scott Strenge said.
After the challenge of educating students through the worst of COVID-19 last year, the award comes as an honor to staff who ensured students were still getting a quality education.
“I know the staff that we have, they work hard, they work tirelessly and after last year, getting through 2020, it sure was a nice boost to our staff and student morale,” Strenge said.
U.S. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) congratulated the three schools in a press release Tuesday, Sept. 21.
“Receiving this award is a reflection of both the students and educators’ hard work and commitment. Only the very best schools in the nation receive this recognition and we are proud to congratulate Roosevelt Elementary, Valley-Edinburg Elementary and Wyndmere Public School for achieving this honor. We thank them for their continued commitment to excellence for their students and wish them a great school year ahead,” the release stated.
Wyndmere Public School was only one of 325 schools to be recognized nationally.
Each year up to 420 schools are nominated for the award.
“The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content,” a U.S. Department of Education release stated.
Since the award began in 1982, it has been given approximately 10,000 times to nearly 9,000 public and private schools across the country. Wyndmere Elementary previously won in 2013.
Just over one-third of the public school winners in 2021 were schools in rural or small towns.
“I always say that I have the opportunity to work in the best school district in the state and this just confirms what I’ve always felt about working here. I just really appreciate it,” Strenge said.