M.C. Perry Elementary recognized as National Blue Ribbon School
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Matthew C. Perry Elementary School aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, was recognized as a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, Sept. 30.
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes approximately 300 schools each year based on high academic performance or making significant improvement in closing academic achievement gaps, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Only two Department of Defense Education Activity schools received the honor in 2014; M. C. Perry Elementary School and Aukamm Elementary School in Germany. Both schools were recognized for their high academic performance.
"What a tremendous accomplishment for the faculty, staff and students of Aukamm Elementary School and M.C. Perry Elementary school for achieving blue ribbon status," said Thomas Brady, DoDEA Director. "High standards and dedication have led to this honor and I want to extend my sincere appreciation for their pursuit of academic excellence."
This is the first time M. C. Perry Elementary School has ever been awarded the title of National Blue Ribbon School, said Suzanne Landrum, principal of M. C. Perry Elementary School.
“Being a blue ribbon school means that your team, the community and the stake holders were recognized for all their hard work and efforts to realize the students’ success,” said Landrum. “It wasn’t just one person who made this possible; it was the whole school community.”
Each year, one school is chosen from DoDEA Pacific to be a blue ribbon school but to be recognized as such, the school must meet the criteria.
“We were informed that our test scores met the criteria in February,” said Landrum. “That is a remarkable achievement in itself.”
Once they were under the blue ribbon radar, the application process began; a process that Landrum said took a lot of work.
“We had a team dedicated to creating this application,” explained Landrum. “Our team worked throughout the month of March, even working until midnight at one point, to get the application done. It took a lot of dedication, but it was worth it.”
Although M. C. Perry Elementary is now blue ribbon official, Landrum said it’s still a goal for the school to continue to grow academically.
“Even when you are at the top, your goal is to sustain it while still showing growth,” said Landrum. “We base our goals on the level of our students at the beginning of each year. Yes, we qualified as a blue ribbon school last year, but there are new students now.”
Like all DoDEA schools, students are continually rotating in and out, creating a constant change in the student dynamic, according to Landrum.
“In the U.S., students tend to stay in the same elementary school from kindergarten to sixth grade,” said Landrum. “We get new students every year so it can be a challenge. We have to assess our students each year and adapt to what will benefit them the most.”
Landrum will be traveling to Washington D.C. in November to accept the award on the school’s behalf.
“I will be accepting the award on November 11,” said Landrum. “A Department of Defense school receiving an award in the nation’s capital on Veterans Day couldn’t be more appropriate.”