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Houserville/Lemont Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School

by on October 03, 2017 4:22 PM

The U.S. Department of Education has recognized a State College Area School District school community for achievement by students and educators.

Houserville/Lemont Elementary School recently was named among 342 National Blue Ribbon Schools, a designation awarded to schools for overall academic excellence or closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“I think it’s quite an accomplishment to be nominated for Blue Ribbon status," said Vernon Bock, assistant superintendent for elementary education. "This is a reflection of the hard work of students, staff and families, who are dedicated to learning at high levels. We’re very proud of the Houserville/Lemont community.”

Nationwide, 342 schools were selected for the honor, including 18 in Pennsylvania. An awards ceremony on Nov. 6-7 in Washington, D.C. will formally recognize the 292 public schools and 50 private schools selected. Lemont/Houserville Principal Todd Dishong will accept a National Blue Ribbon School flag and a plaque at the ceremony

“It’s a real testament across the board to our hard-working teachers who care about kids, our hard-working kids, our parents and our community, and our school district,” Dishong said.

Lemont (kindergarten through second grade) and Houserville (third through fifth grade) are sister schools that form a single K-5 school community. Together, they were recognized with the Blue Ribbon as an Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing School. It's one of only two Pennsylvania schools to earn that recognition.

To be honored for exemplary achievement gap closing, a school must be in the top 15 percent of all schools, for each student subgroup, in progress over the last five years in closing performance gaps on state reading and math assessment tests. Schools also must be ranked in the top 40 percent of all state schools in each student subgroup's performance on the most recent state assessment for reading and math.

They also must have seen a change in performance for all students the past five years on the state reading and math tests that was no less than the statewide average change.

“We’re always looking to improve, maximize our minutes, use all the resources that are available to us, continue to hone in on the professional development that teachers need, and look at all of our kids and differentiate and adjust curriculum,” Dishong said. “How can we be better? How can we help support these students?”

The Houserville and Lemont schools will merge in a new school building at the Houserville site. They are among the final plans recently approved by State College Area School Board for construction and renovation at several elementary schools. Construction on the new building is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019. The Lemont Elementary building will close once the new school is completed.

The Blue Ribbon is the second Department of Education honor in two years for a State College Area school. In 2016, Park Forest Elementary was named a National Green Ribbon School for its commitment to environmentally-sustainable practices.

Photo by Nabil K. Mark / State College Area School District

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