Avon Middle School named a National Blue Ribbon School

The Avon Local Schools are pleased to announce Avon Middle School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2020. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today recognized 367 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. This is the first time any school within the Avon Local Schools has received the National Blue Ribbon award recognition. 

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years. 

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

Avon Middle School first learned it was nominated for the esteemed honor this past February.

Once a school receives a nomination from the Ohio Department of Education, there is a lengthy application process the school must complete to be considered for the national award. 

The Ohio Department of Education nominates schools each year per the eligibility criteria set by the U. S. Department of Education. Ohio looks at consistent high performance in proficiency on Ohio’s English Language Arts and mathematics assessments, high performance on the Progress Component and the Gap Closing Components, as well as high graduation rates (where applicable) all from Ohio’s School Report Cards. In selecting schools to nominate, the Department also acknowledges geographic representation to nominate high-performing schools from across the state. Up to 14 public schools can be nominated from Ohio for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

  •         Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  •         Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Avon Middle School was nominated as an Exemplary High Performing School. Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year nationally. The U.S. Department of Education invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE). 

“Receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award is a wonderful honor, not only for Avon Middle School, but for the entire school district and the City of Avon,” said Dr. Craig Koehler, Avon Middle School principal. “With the school, families, and community working together, we have been able to accomplish great things for our children. It’s been all about teamwork, and we are certainly appreciative of our amazing staff and students, as well as the support we have received from the community over the years.”

Koehler has been principal at Avon Middle School since 1998. 

“To be designated as a Blue Ribbon School is truly an honor,” said Mike Laub, Avon Local Schools superintendent. “Our staff, students and community should be proud of this accomplishment.  This award is a reflection of the entire team and their desire to provide the best possible education for our students.”

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13. While we regret not having the opportunity to celebrate in person, given the current situation regarding COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Education will celebrate the 317 public and 50 non-public school honorees in the ways that we are able, and they will each receive their plaques and flags via mail.

About Avon Middle School: Avon Middle School serves the suburban city of Avon which is 20 miles west of Cleveland, Ohio. For more than a decade, the school has received distinguished ratings from the Ohio Department of Education. With a dynamic, progressive and professional staff, the school offers a wide variety of programs ranging from special needs and co-taught classes to honors and accelerating core academics. In addition, the school excels in elective course offerings including award-winning studio arts, orchestras, bands, and choirs.

Other elective offerings include current events, world geography, zoology, debate, creative writing, modern international conflicts, world geography, leadership exploration, and three world languages. Students also can elect to enroll in technology offerings such as robotics design, tech animation, digital media arts, computer programming, and pre-engineering.

The school conducts various community services and outreach programs that focus on staff and student involvement. The school leadership and services clubs promote different annual drives and fundraisers, such as Souper Bowl of Caring, Project Caring Tree, Thanksgiving Food Drive, VFW Veterans Breakfast, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Prayers from Maria Glioma Cancer Foundation, Special Olympics, Community Resource Services, and Milestone Autism Resources.

To support a thriving learning environment, Avon Middle has implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiatives, such as restorative practices, a bullying prevention program, developmental assets themes, and school-wide assemblies promoting positive relationships and experiences. With the school, home, and community working in partnership, we continue to educate the whole child in an inclusive environment that inspires personal excellence.

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