Blue Ribbon Award
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Whitebead School is the proud recipient of the No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School Award. This prestigious award honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior in their states or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement. We are proud to be among the best of the best!

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program was established by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 1982 with three goals in mind: identify and recognize outstanding public and private schools across the United States, offer a comprehensive framework for key criteria for school effectiveness, and facilitate the sharing of best practices among schools. Over the years, the program has developed a reputation for offering a powerful tool for school improvement in addition to providing recognition.

Schools eligible for this prestigious award must be recommended for national recognition by their state department of education or sponsoring agency. Nominations are evaluated by a National Review Panel that considers these criteria: student focus and support; school organization and culture; challenging standards and curriculum; active teaching and learning; professional community; leadership and educational vitality; school, family, and community partnerships; and indicators of success. The final determination, made by the Secretary of Education, is based on the recommendation of the Panel.

A school preparing a Blue Ribbon nomination goes through a demanding self-assessment experience. Over the course of years or months, the entire school community including students, teachers, parents, administrators, business leaders, and other community representatives participate in data collection and reflection that validate success and reveal areas for improvement.

Blue Ribbon Awarded schools do not rest on their laurels. They become part of a growing network of successful educators committed to helping other schools identify their strengths and weaknesses. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program has steadily created a body of experience and expertise that has helped improve schools throughout the country.

To learn more about this honor, visit the Blue Ribbon Award website.


Mary Smith, Whitebead School principal, receives the commemorative plaque from Mike Cohen, NAESP executive director, at the recent Blue Ribbon Schools Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Whitebead was chosen one of the state's two 1999 Blue Ribbon Schools by the United States Education Department. It is only the second time that a dependent school without the high school grades has been selected for the national honor and the only Oklahoma dependent school to be so chosen.

Mary Smith, Whitebead School principal, recently received a commemorative plaque for the school's recognition as a 1999 Blue Ribbon School at the annual Blue Ribbon Schools Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Smith said the award represents a great honor for the students, teachers, staff members, and parents of Whitebead.

"It is a powerful validation of the hard work and commitment that have led to our focus on quality and continuing improvement," she said. "This is just the beginning of our journey. We've reached these high standards and the Blue Ribbon award inspires us to even greater achievements."

The award is given annually by the U.S. Department of Education to those schools meeting the department's rigorous research-based criteria for overall excellence.

Whitebead was one of only two schools in Oklahoma selected for this honor. It was the first time an Oklahoma dependent elementary school has been selected for this recognition and only the second time nationally for a school district of this type. Dependent schools offer no grades beyond the eighth.

Whitebead School was also recently named to an elite list as one of the top Title I schools in Oklahoma. Not only was the area school honored with its selection for Title I Distinguished School status, it was one of the three elementary schools named in the first place category.

Yet another honor came when Whitebead was named as a Distinguished Title I School at the 1998-99 International Reading Conference in San Diego, California.

Whitebead is a dependent district located just west of Pauls Valley on state Highway 19.