Velasquez Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School

Lamar CISD’s Velasquez Elementary joined the ranks of the nation’s elite schools on Friday, receiving official word that the campus is a National Blue Ribbon School.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized 269 schools as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.

Velasquez is one of only 18 schools in Texas to receive the nation’s highest honor for academic achievement. Velasquez opened in 2006 and has been ranked Exemplary by the Texas Education Agency every year.

“I am so proud of everyone in the Velasquez Wildcat family,” said Velasquez principal Heather Patterson. “That includes every student, parent, teacher and staff member. We have always stressed that they can be the best and this is the proof.”

Patterson also thanked the Lamar CISD Board of Trustees and Administration for their continuing support.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it is no accident that there are three Blue Ribbon schools in Lamar CISD,” she said. “Our community is blessed with leaders that value the education of every child.”

Austin Elementary became a Blue Ribbon School in 2006, and Ray Elementary received their Blue Ribbon in 2008.

The Department will honor approximately 219 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.  In its 30-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,000 of America’s schools.

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers.  Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance 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 that 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.

Velasquez is Exemplary High Performing.

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