Richard Brian / Special to the Sun
Published Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 | 12:46 p.m.
Updated Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 | 4:14 p.m.
A Henderson elementary school is being honored by the federal government as one of the top schools in the nation.
Vanderburg Elementary School was recognized Friday as one of 269 National Blue Ribbon Schools, a coveted distinction that rewards schools for its academic excellence or for making progress in improving student achievement.
Vanderburg is the only school in Nevada to earn the prestigious award this year.
"This designation speaks volumes about the level of commitment we have from our staff, students and parents," Principal Catherine Maggiore said in a statement. "We are completely dedicated to ensuring that all of our students succeed and have the chance to pursue their dreams."
Vanderburg – along with 218 other public schools and 50 private schools – will be honored in November at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The federal government has bestowed the award on nearly 7,000 schools across the nation since 1982.
Blue Ribbon Schools are recognized in one of two performance categories: “Exemplary High Performing” and “Exemplary Improving.”
The former honors schools whose students scored among the top 10 percent on state or national-normed tests. The latter honors schools that score high on state and national assessments despite having 40 percent of its students come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In addition, Blue Ribbon schools must meet the "adequate yearly progress" measure of the No Child Left Behind Act.
“Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”
Vanderburg, which serves about 800 students, was honored for being an “Exemplary High Performing” school. In the 2010-11 school year – the latest data available – 93 percent of Vanderburg third- and fourth-graders were proficient in English and 94 percent of third-graders were proficient in math.
Vanderburg is also one of the School District’s highest-rated “five-star” schools.
"Vanderburg Elementary showcases everything we are working to emulate across all of our schools," Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones said in a statement. "It possesses strong leadership, quality teachers in the classroom, an involved community, and ultimately, high levels of academic achievement that ensure students will be ready by exit for college and career."
The School District had two Blue Ribbon schools last school year: Advanced Technologies Academy and Bendorf Elementary School.
The state superintendents of each state nominate Blue Ribbon contenders from among the more than 130,000 schools nationwide. A total of 417 schools may be nominated, with allotments determined by the number of K-12 students and schools in each state. The U.S. Department of Education then invites nominated schools to submit an application for the award.
Vanderburg elementary was named after John Vanderburg, an award-winning Las Vegas teacher and administrator who served from the late 1960s to the 1980s. His namesake school opened in 1997.