TCCS A Blue Ribbon School

There are approximately 55,000 schools in the United States.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education recognized 286 with the Blue Ribbon Award, which, according to the department, “recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement.”

And in that one half of one percent is Tidioute Community Charter School.

An assembly was held on Wednesday afternoon at the school to celebrate the accomplishment.

“We entered the contest, so to speak, as a small rural school,” Chief Educational Officer Doug Allen said. Citing the efforts of everyone affiliated with the school, “you have done so well the last seven to eight years you were given this prize.”

He also praised the efforts of the students. “Everybody makes the school work,” he said, “(but) without 300 students we don’t even matter. Congratulations young people.”

“This is bigger than you think,” he noted. “Blue Ribbon is rare.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the National Blue Ribbon Schools program “recognizes schools in one of two categories. The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools have have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a release. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

“Our founders had a great vision that far surpassed simply educating our children,” Heather Cass, secretary at TCCS, said. “We would teach our children how to think, not what to think.”

“We are upholding our mission and making a great difference in the lives of our students,” she added.

A recognition ceremony will be held in November where the school will be presented a plaque as well as a flag as symbols of the achievement. Cass said several people from the school are planning to attend.

“It’s a great place to be, and I don’t know if everybody realizes that,” teacher Ryan Guerra said at the conclusion of the assembly. “We’re not just Tidioute… we have open arms to anyone that wants to come in and that’s what makes us special.”