By Jeff Gallatin
Students and staff at Butternut Primary School may soon get a national Blue Ribbon to tie around its accomplishments.
North Olmsted schools Superintendent Cheryl Dubsky said at the Dec. 14 regular school board meeting that state education officials contacted her about getting all the proper information for nominating the school to possibly get a national Blue Ribbon School award.
“We’re excited that the Ohio Department of Education will nominate Butternut Primary School for the 2012 national Blue Ribbon Schools Award,” she said. “Butternut is one of 14 schools that the ODE may nominate to the United States Department of Education. It would be nominated in the category of exemplary, high performing schools.”
Dubsky noted there were only a little more than 50 schools that might qualify in Ohio.
“That’s pretty exclusive company,” Dubsky said, noting that the U.S. Department of Education only nominates a small number of schools for the award each year. After the state and officials from the school send in the information, federal officials review the various applications and are expected to announce the 2012 winners in September.
Dubsky said consideration for nomination is based on some of the following criteria: 1) The school has not received the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools award. 2) The school has not been in school improvement status within the last two years, namely 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. 3) The school has met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. 4) The school met or exceeded the 85th percentile proficient levels in reading and mathematics on state assessments for all student groups, and the 60th percentile for racial/ethnic and economically disadvantaged subgroups of students in each of their tested grades for 2010-2011.
Dubsky said the tested grade level at Butternut is Grade 3. “As you know, student achievement on the Grade 3 Ohio Achievement Assessment is the result of the quality teaching and learning that occurs in preschool, and kindergarten through the third grade.
“In order to move forward, the superintendent must verify that the school meets all eligibility criteria. My verification was sent to the Ohio Department of Education yesterday. Once nominated by the Ohio Department of Education, we will need to complete an application that best describes Butternut’s educational practices and details its academic performance over the past five years. Butternut Primary School must also meet AYP again this year,” she said.
Dubsky said the usual application process runs between January 2012 and February 2012. The application deadline is March 2, 2012.
Dubsky said she got the initial phone call about the honor before 9 a.m. Dec. 14.
“It made my whole day,” she said. “It just goes to show what we’ve said about the district before. You can never count North Olmsted out. It’s a great honor to even be nominated, but we’re going in to get this.”
Dubsky said she took a trip over to the school to announce the honor at a special meeting.
School Principal Chris Caleris, who attends board meetings, said afterward, people at the school are pleased.
“They were pretty excited,” he said about the reaction to Dubsky’s announcement at the special meeting. “There’s a lot of passion and caring about education and learning at the school.”
In his second year as principal at the school, Caleris said the staff is a blend of veteran educators and young teachers.
“It’s a really good mix of people,” he said. “That does play a part in the success at the school.”
He said the staff also does a great job of furthering learning, not only for the students, but for themselves as educators as well.
“They are always working at making it better,” she said. “I feel fortunate to be working with them.”
Caleris also lauded Dubsky and the administration staff for setting a positive tone throughout the entire district for education.
“They provide a great atmosphere for learning,” he said. “Dr. Dubsky is always there for the district and for us.”