Superintendent, Mayor and School Communities celebrate being honored by the U.S. Dept. of Education
PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Department of Education recognized two schools within the School District of Philadelphia as National Blue Ribbon Schools: Albert M. Greenfield and William M. Meredith elementary schools.
“The School District of Philadelphia congratulates both Greenfield and Meredith schools on this outstanding achievement,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “Principals Dr. Dan Lazar and Lauren Overton have maintained high academic standards and have created supportive school environments so our students can learn and grow. On behalf of the District, I applaud all students, teachers, families, and partners who made these awards possible.”
Established in 1982, the award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools throughout the country where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. The Department of Education announced the newest cohort of Blue Ribbon Schools on Monday, October 1. Greenfield and Meredith are two of 19 schools to be recognized throughout Pennsylvania.
Both school communities were recognized during celebrations at their buildings Monday, October 1, which were attended by Dr. Hite, Mayor Jim Kenney, and Board of Education President Joyce Wilkerson.
“We’re very proud of the students and staff at Greenfield and Meredith for earning this national distinction, and exemplifying the progress that Philadelphia schools are making throughout the city,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Our city’s future depends on whether students have meaningful opportunities to learn and grow. I look forward to continuing our work with School District and new School Board to accelerate Philadelphia schools’ recent progress and ensure that there are quality schools in every neighborhood.”
Greenfield School serves approximately 620 students in grades K-8 in Center City and aims to develop inquisitive learners who are eager to meet their potential, effectively communicate, take responsibility for their learning and are internally motivated to learn. A leader in sustainability, it was also designated a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency in 2013.
“This achievement would have not been possible without the hard work of our teachers, staff, students and the amazing support of our parents and the Greenfield community as a whole,” said Greenfield School Principal Dr. Dan Lazar. “We are honored to be a Blue Ribbon School and look forward to continuing to provide a vibrant learning environment for students.”
Greenfield works hard to provide diverse opportunities to its students. All students have access to visual arts instruction and vocal arts opportunities, and a thriving after-school program puts on two performances each year. Technology is interspersed throughout classrooms through coding and the use of robots, and every student receives instruction around healthy living choices. In addition, students are encouraged to talk through social issues and use their voices to effect change.
Serving approximately 573 K-8 students in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood, Meredith is a collaborative school community that values reciprocal relationships among families, students, faculty and staff. It aims to cultivate well-rounded learners who serve their communities and engage and excel in our complex, interconnected and ever-changing world. Over 90 percent of its students are reading at or above grade level and over 90 percent of eighth graders are accepted into the high school of their choice.
“I am incredibly proud of the work we are doing at the Meredith school and am excited to share the recognition that this brings with our students, families, and staff,” said Meredith School Principal Lauren Overton. “We look forward to continuing our work around creating a workshop environment in both reading and math, developing students’ understanding of social justice, and encouraging students to discover a lifelong love of learning and curiosity.”
Meredith is a school with many hallmarks that make it a caring environment for students. Each year, the school puts on a student-run musical and hosts a Harvest Feast that allows families to feature cuisine that is traditional in their homes. It also focuses on the importance of cultural competency and values social justice learning, and every bathroom stall in the building is labeled “Gender Neutral” to ensure a welcoming and safe environment for all students.
The coveted award affirms the hard work of educators, families and community members at schools to create safe and nurturing school environments where students master challenging and engaging content. This year’s awards mark the fourth and fifth Philadelphia public schools to be named a National Blue Ribbon School under Dr. Hite’s tenure (including Hill Freedman World Academy in 2014, Penn Alexander School in 2016, and McCall School in 2017.) It is also the first time two schools have been named Blue Ribbon Schools simultaneously since Dr. Hite arrived in 2012.
Both Greenfield and Meredith schools will be celebrated along with other National Blue Ribbon School honorees at a ceremony in Washington, DC later this year.