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Lt. Gov. Coleman salutes Rosa Parks for Blue Ribbon win

Rosa Parks Elementary, one of the select few in Kentucky to earn National Blue Ribbon School status in 2021, welcomed a special guest to celebrate the award from the U.S. Department of Education. “It acknowledges academic excellence, and it’s the pillar for a community to wrap its arms around the school,” Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said of the honor. “It’s not one-dimensional but intentional, and it’s built on the foundation this community has established with the school.”

Principal Claudine Barrow and fifth graders Carter Boatman and Ismail Khan led a brief tour in which Coleman peeked in on a few classrooms. “With all they’ve done to improve the school, we’ve earned it,” Carter said of the award. He singled out the polite culture at Rosa Parks, where he said students receive undivided attention and care. “I enjoy coming to school,” Carter said. “I know I’m safe here and can trust people at school.”

As a former teacher, Coleman appreciates the efforts put in by staff and students. Fourth grade teacher Caron Cron said the news from Washington was not a huge surprise, given that “We always raise the bar every day.” “Everyone works so hard and gives their best, but our leadership sets us apart,” said Cron, who credited Barrow for stoking excitement about learning and giving her teachers autonomy. “We know our students and how they learn best. Our principal trusts us to do our job and do it the way we see fit,” added third grade teacher Rachel Creager.

Barrow tapped Cron and Creager for a committee to complete the award application late last spring. “We had to prove ourselves worthy,” Cron explained. For instance, the team had to describe the role of various staff members, show how the school meets all its students’ needs, and demonstrate ongoing classroom engagement and academic progress – despite the COVID-19 challenges. “A big part was how we adapted during the pandemic,” Creager said, noting that Rosa Parks maintained 97 percent attendance throughout NTI remote learning. After the Kentucky Department of Education released the latest state test scores, the Rosa Parks staff learned this fall that their school is among this year’s National Blue Ribbon Schools. “It’s such a big deal!” said Creager, who believes the designation reassures families that Rosa Parks provides a diverse, high-quality educational experience.

Ismail, who has attended Rosa Parks since kindergarten, agreed. “The teachers and students understand each other’s beliefs and opinions, and the teachers will try to help as much as possible,” he said. “It’s a big honor to get a blue ribbon!” he added.

The U.S. Education Department bases selection on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. In total, 325 public and private elementary, middle, and high schools across the country are National Blue Ribbon Schools this year. Barrow, Creager, and FCPS Superintendent Demetrus Liggins plan to attend the Washington awards ceremony in early November.

Did you know? Rosa Parks Elementary was also a National Blue Ribbon School in 2012.

(Posted Oct. 11, 2021)

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