By Lorrie Ham
Hilltop Primary School in the Westonka School District is one of only eight schools in the State of Minnesota to be nominated as a 2012 Blue Ribbon School.
“Being nominated for a Blue Ribbon Award is a tremendous honor,” said Superintendent Kevin Borg. “This nomination is a testament to the hard work and abilities of both our students and staff. A special thank you also goes to our supportive parents.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the Blue Ribbon Schools Award is designed to bring public attention to the best schools in the United States and recognize those schools whose students thrived and excelled.
“I am so proud of our students, staff and Hilltop community for being honored with this award,” said Principal Nancy Benz. “The Blue Ribbon School Award is one of the top awards in education, and it shows that Hilltop is a great school where we work in a partnership with our students and parents.”
Public schools are nominated by the Chief State School Officers and by officials at the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. All nominees must qualify as either an Exemplary High Performing School or an Exemplary Improving School. Hilltop was nominated as an Exemplary High Performing School.
To complete the nomination process, Benz filled out a lengthy application form, including why Hilltop should be a Blue Ribbon School, indicators of academic success, staff development, curriculum and instruction.
“It basically covered the whole picture of Hilltop Primary School,” Benz said.
The winners will be announced in September and will receive their awards during a recognition ceremony in Washington D.C.
Hilltop's sister school, Shirley Hills Primary, is a 2008 Blue Ribbon winner.
“It's always nice to be recognized for an award when you get to do what you love," said third-grade teacher Maria Ramthun. "I look forward to working with my class every day, and I know my co-workers feel the same way. We put a lot of energy and pride into what we do. I think Westonka is an incredible place to work, and I look forward to many more years at Hilltop.”
Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has honored America’s most successful public and non-public schools. A Blue Ribbon Schools flag waving overhead has become a trademark of excellence, a symbol of quality recognized by everyone from parents to staff to policy-makers in thousands of communities across the country.
“I am so proud to have such an excellent staff that goes above and beyond for the students and the community,” said Principal Benz. “This award is a fine representation of the quality of our staff.”