U.S. Department of Education names Orchard Middle School a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Students and staff at Solon’s Orchard Middle School today are cheering the news that their school is a National Blue Ribbon School. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the list of 286 National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2013, citing their overall academic excellence and success in raising student achievement. In Ohio, 15 schools, including only two middle schools, received the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award.

“Excellence in education matters, and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” Secretary Duncan said. “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.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Award recognizes schools in which students perform at very high levels or demonstrate significant improvements in student achievement. Orchard Middle School was honored as an “Exemplary High Performing” school, one of Ohio’s highest performing schools as measured by state achievement assessments.

“This national recognition for Orchard highlights the hard work and success of the research-based best practices in our classrooms,” explained Solon Schools’ Superintendent Joe Regano. “The high levels of achievement for all students recognized by the award are the result of the collaborative culture at Orchard and each of our Solon Schools that targets individual student needs.”

“This important award is directly related to the high achievement of our Orchard students,” said Cari Mineard, principal of Orchard Middle School. “We live the Solon Schools’ mission every day with our focus on doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of all of our students. Our dedicated teachers and staff are committed to making sure that our students are continually working toward their personal best. This award also reflects the effective partnership among our students, parents and staff. I am so proud of our Orchard family.”

Since Orchard was nominated for the Blue Ribbon Award nearly a year ago by the Ohio Department of Education, school and district staff members completed a comprehensive application process that detailed the school’s efforts over time to raise student achievement. Subsequently, federal education officials evaluated the data and narratives submitted as well as the current year state assessment results to confirm continued achievement gains across all students.

Mrs. Mineard and representatives of Orchard will travel to Washington, D.C., in November to participate in a recognition ceremony and receive the actual Blue Ribbon School Award. Overall, 236 public and 50 private schools are being honored for 2013.