Hammond Hill named as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence

Hammond Hill Elementary School Principal Janet Vaughan couldn't wait to drive home on Monday - not because she wanted to get away from school, but because she wanted to see the newest evidence of her school's excellence.

A new sign went up Monday on Martintown Road at Bunting Drive which identifies Hammond Hill's latest accolade. Under the big green sign directing traffic to the school, an additional sign has been erected labeling Hammond Hill as a "National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence."

This honor came on the heels of the official celebration of all the Blue Ribbon schools named at the national level.

Vaughan was on hand in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12 and 13 for the recognition. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan introduced a total of 314 schools as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools for their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels, according to the department's website.

Vaughan explained she was asked to take one teacher with her, so she chose Kat Snyder, the computer writing lab instructor at the school.

"I really think that the Computer Writing Lab has had a tremendous impact on our instructional program over the years," said Vaughan, who pointed out the school just received an excellent rating on the school Report Card in both the absolute and growth rating - for the fourth year in a row. "I am very pleased with our progress," said Vaughan.

While in Washington, Snyder and Vaughan attended instructional sessions with principals and teachers across the nation who are from schools that have been awarded the Blue Ribbon. "It was a great time to network and find out what other successful schools are doing to achieve academic gains," said Vaughan.

During the awards ceremony both teacher and principal were recognized, and everyone at the ceremony got a look at each winning school through a couple of photos.

Vaughan also accepted a plaque and huge Blue Ribbon flag at the ceremony. The plaque hangs in the office, and the flag is being framed to hang in the cafeteria, she said.

The principal proudly noted, "We also had a new sign made for the main entrance to our school." That symbol of the school's achievement, created by CommuniGraphics, can be seen on Hammond Hill's Facebook page.

And the possibilities continue. Hammond Hill is currently a semifinalist for the Palmetto's Finest award. Judges will visit the school on Friday.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program 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' levels of academic achievement. Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education's National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has honored America's most successful public and private elementary, middle, and high schools.

In its 30 year history, the U. S. Department of Education has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,000 of America's schools.