Barr-Reeve Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School
Posted on 09/29/2017

Lindsay Owens Times Herald

MONTGOMERY - It's a program that recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on academic excellence or closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Since it started in 1982, just over 8,500 schools have been presented with the coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools honor and on Thursday, it was announced that Barr-Reeve Elementary will be joining the list of recipients.

"We are very excited about this," said elementary principal Dena Lengacher, who said in January she received an email stating the school had been nominated for the honor and a detailed application providing additional information on the school demographics, curriculum and more had to be compiled and submitted by the school. "The application was a collaborative effort by our teachers and staff."

Lengacher said each grade level helped supply the information for application.

Barr-Reeve is one of just seven schools in the Hoosier state to be named to the 2017 list that recognizes 342 schools across the country.

"National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a letter received by the school. "You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff."

Barr-Reeve Elementary will be honored in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6 and 7. Exemplary High Performing Schools are some of the state's highest performing schools based on state assessments and national tests.

"This is sort of like winning a state championship for academic success," said Lengacher, who along with assistant elementary principal and curriculum director Tenley Lester as well as superintendent Travis Madison, will travel to the nation's capitol for the two-day event. "Everyone, from the teachers and paraprofessionals to the bus drivers had a hand in helping us achieve this."

Lengacher said even though the primary building is considered separate, the teachers and staff there also deserve credit for the achievement.

"It's our primary teachers and staff who help prepare our students for the next level," she said. "It may sound cliche', but it really is a team effort. We're all hands on deck here. We're just going to keep doing what we've been doing."

Barr-Reeve's success in the classroom, Lengacher and Madison said can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of teachers, staff and the community.

"We've taken a systematic approach from day one," said Madison, adding that without the support of the community over the last few years, Barr-Reeve Schools may not be where they are today. "We want our students to learn and grow and had we not passed the referendum, there are things we may not have been able to offer our kids."

Madison said test scores like Barr-Reeve's don't just happen.

"Scores don't just happen in a vacuum. We make changes based on what we believe is best for our kids," he said.

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