A fourth Fayetteville-Manlius School District school has been designated as a National Blue Ribbon School, an honor reserved for public and private K-12 schools that have achieved high levels of academic success or have made significant improvement in closing achievement gaps.
On Sept. 21, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona designated 325 schools, including F-M’s Fayetteville Elementary School, as National Blue Ribbon Schools. This is the fourth time a school in the F-M school district has received national recognition. Mott Road Elementary School earned the prestigious honor in 2020, Enders Road Elementary School received it in 2014 and Eagle Hill Middle School was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2011.
Fayetteville is one of 19 New York schools, and the only Onondaga County school, to receive the prestigious designation.
“We’re proud of the entire Fayetteville Elementary School community as this recognition affirms the exceptional work of our students and staff, which is made possible by the supportive family partnerships that are intentionally cultivated and grown,” F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said.
The state Education Department nearly a year ago nominated Fayetteville Elementary as an Exemplary High Performing School; schools in this category are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. School staff then went to work on the program’s comprehensive application, which detailed the school’s demographics, academic efforts, instructional methods and philosophies.
Once submitted, applications are evaluated by a panel of judges during a two-phase review process. In the meantime, to remain eligible for National Blue Ribbon consideration, nominated schools must continue to meet program criteria in the current school year.
“The Fayetteville Elementary community is honored to be named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School. Through our intentional balance between robust curriculum and a focus on social-emotional learning, we strive to engage all students and ensure that everyone feels welcomed,” Fayetteville Elementary School Principal Eileen Lux said. “With all the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought, we remained steadfast in our principles. We know that when our students feel safe, valued and connected, they can reach their full potential. Our entire school community comes together every day to build an environment that is best for our students, and we are so proud to have received this national recognition as a result.”
Fayetteville has about 471 students enrolled in its kindergarten through fourth-grade classes and employs 73 staff members.
The U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon School designation is an honor that never expires, and Blue Ribbon Schools are held up as models for other schools. The U.S. Department of Education features the winners on its website, leaders of winning schools give presentations at state and regional meetings about their school’s practices and teachers from other school districts often visit Blue Ribbon Schools to learn about effective leadership and instructional strategies, according to the Blue Ribbon program website.