Accelify Blog

Tri-Valley High, Prairie Central Elementary ‘Blue Ribbon’ Schools (IL)

March 30, 2011

Two Pantagraph area schools were recognized Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education as being among the 2010 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

Tri-Valley High School in Downs and Prairie Central Upper Elementary School in Forrest are among the 254 public and 50private schools across the nation that will be honored at an awards ceremony Nov. 15 and 16 in Washington, D.C. The schools promise local recognition events as well.

Tri-Valley Superintendent Curt Simonson said the high school has achieved so much because students are taught there are“consequences of doing well (not just poorly).” He also praised“cutting-edge” programs Principal David Mouser has instituted,including a 20-minute program at the end of the school day that focuses on individual student success, motivational incentives and high expectations.

Collaboration among teachers, especially between special-education teachers and their mainstream counterparts, is a big reason for success at Prairie Central Upper Elementary School,said Principal Paula Crane. The 340-student school has more than 44percent low-income students and a large population of special-education students, Crane said.

Instead of the six special-education teachers and 14 mainstream teachers focusing separately only on their students within the classroom, they work together as if there are two teachers for the whole class, she said.

“It’s a work of art,” she said.

The Blue Ribbon program honors public and private schools in two categories.

In one, the student body as a whole, regardless of background,rank s in the top 10 percent of their state on standardized tests.Both local schools fell in this category.

In the other, at least 40 percent of the school’s students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the school as a whole makes dramatic improvement in those standardized tests.

The winning 304 schools were chosen from 413 nominated.