Blue may be the color of choice at Mott Road Elementary School following the Fayetteville-Manlius School District school’s designation as a 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. 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos designated 367 schools, including Mott Road, as Blue Ribbon Schools. This is the third time a school in the F-M school district has received the national recognition. Enders Road Elementary School earned the prestigious honor in 2014, and Eagle Hill Middle School received it in 2011.
Mott Road is one of 18 New York schools—and the only Onondaga County school—to receive the prestigious Blue Ribbon designation.
“It is a privilege to be nominated for the Blue Ribbon award, not only for our school staff, but for the families of our students. The collaborative environment, commitment to excellence and dedication to personalizing our instruction to meet the needs of our students have all gotten us to this wonderful moment,” Mott Road Elementary School Principal Jonna Johnson said. “I am so proud to be part of this wonderful school community. Mott Road truly embodies the phrase, ‘F-M Pride.’”
The state Education Department nearly a year ago nominated Mott Road for the designation based on the school’s record of academic success. 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 Blue Ribbon consideration, nominated schools must continue to meet program criteria in the current school year.
“It was rewarding to work through the application process—especially during a time of uncertainty—and highlight all the wonderful aspects of teaching and learning taking place at Mott Road,” Johnson said. “On behalf of our entire staff, we are honored and consider ourselves extremely fortunate to work with the children and families in the Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District.”
Mott Road has about 387 students enrolled in its kindergarten through fourth-grade classes and employs 75 staff members.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon 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.
Mott Road made other national news following its recent participation in the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Innovation and Transformational Leadership Network. This national collaborative brought together like-minded schools from across the country in order to promote innovative practices in our nation’s schools.
As a result, District Administration named F-M a 2020 District of Distinction finalist in the magazine’s curriculum and instruction category for the initiatives taking place at Mott Road. F-M was one of five school districts recognized by the publication for its innovative practices, and Mott Road was the only elementary-level nominee.
“I am so proud of the entire Mott Road Elementary School team to collaborate in the spirit of continuous improvement,” Superintendent of Schools Craig J. Tice said. “Without a doubt, their collective efforts have been rewarded with these accolades including the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award!”