By Taylor Boyd
Meadows of Dan Elementary School was awarded the National Blue-Ribbon award by the United States Department of Education.
The program honors high performing schools and schools making exemplary progress towards closing achievement gaps.
Meadows of Dan was recognized for overall achievement.
Principal Amy Nester said she received a call that the school had been nominated for the award and was eligible to apply for it.
“It’s a huge honor to even be nominated,” she said.
This year, only 325 public and private school nationwide received the award, and seven of those schools were in Virginia.
Nester said the idea of becoming a Blue Ribbon school started in 2014 when then principal Jason Wood made it a goal. Wood now is director of Operations and Adult Education.
Nester said schools are chosen based on their Standards of Learning (SOL) scores. This year’s applications were based on the scores from the 2019-2020 school year, the last time the standardized tests were held before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Then you have to apply in the other categories – community involvement, parent partnerships, how you support the child’s social/emotional wellbeing, how you support teachers, the professional growth, and everything,” she said.
The school also had to document and submit its performance in those categories over the past few years. This year’s application also included a section on the pandemic and what the schools did during that time, Nester said.
Wood said he is proud of all the staff and the growth the school and the rest of the division has shown. “You do it all for the kids and you all are some of the best teachers I’ve had the privilege to work with. I just want to thank you, from bus drivers to the cafeteria workers to the custodians, you’re what made this school a family,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said he is pleased the school was recognized for its commitment to academic success.
“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of students, parents, and educators alike. I am grateful for their efforts and proud of their accomplishments,” he said.
Photographs and descriptions of the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available on the U.S. Department of Education website.