CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three West Virginia elementary schools are the recipients of one of the highest honors in education with their naming as National Blue Ribbon Schools.
The U.S. Department Education announced Thursday that Williamstown Elementary in Wood County, Kenna Elementary in Kanawha County and Panther Creek Elementary in Nicholas County had earned the designation in the Exemplary High Performing School category.
Panther Creek Principal Josh Asbury, in his second year at the school located in Nettie, credited the school community when he spoke with MetroNews Thursday afternoon.
“It’s just a great community with very supportive parents and the community in general,” Asbury said. “It’s a great school, great staff, great kids, great everything. I’m just very blessed to be there.”
Nicholas County School Superintendent Dr. Donna Burge-Tetrick said the Panther community has a proven track record. The school was also a National Blue Ribbon School in 2013, she said.
“I’ve just truly been amazed by the community support for Panther Creek School. They have high expectations for their students, the teachers have high expectations. It’s just amazing to see how that school works,” Burge-Tetrick said.
Kenna Elementary is located in Charleston and its Blue Ribbon Schools application says each student is part of a close community.
“The Kenna tradition of fostering community engagement and parental support helps students meet the highest of standards, year after year,” the school said.
Kanawha County School Superintendent Dr. Tom Williams praised the accomplishment.
“We are so very proud of Kenna Elementary for achieving this national distinction and congratulate all students and parents, along with the incredible staff,” Williams said in a news release. “We recognize that this achievement takes work and dedication, and we should absolutely take a moment to celebrate as the learning within each classroom moves forward every day.”
Williamstown Elementary’s school motto is “Be the Best Bee You Can Be.”
According to its Blue Ribbon application, “Teachers at Williamstown Elementary School work tirelessly to ensure that they meet the needs of each student. Differentiation and collaboration play key roles in ensuring that each student gets what they need, both emotionally and academically.”
The schools began working on their applications about a year ago, Asbury said.
“It’s very intensive and there’s a lot of back and forth between the United States Department of Education and us in trying to get everything lined out, looking at test scores and academic features,” he said.
The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held held virtually Nov. 12-13.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized 317 public and 50 non-public schools this year.