WASHINGTON, D.C. — East Lynn Elementary School in Wayne County has been recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2018.
East Lynn was one of three exemplary high-performing schools in West Virginia to receive the honor, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday. The other West Virginia schools are Allen T. Allison Elementary in Hancock County and Mount Lookout Elementary in Nicholas County.
A total of 300 public schools and 49 private schools in the United States were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools in the program’s 36th year.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program award recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
“I’m humbled that we were recognized for all the hard work that our staff, students and community have put into this school,” East Lynn Elementary Principal Melissa Maynard said. “We’re one big huge family here. I like the culture and how we get along with one another. It’s a safe haven and they love coming to school and the education that they get from coming here every day.”
Wayne County Schools Superintendent Todd Alexander released a statement congratulating the school on the achievement.
“Congratulations to Principal Melissa Maynard and the staff, students, and parents of East Lynn Elementary for this tremendous honor,” Alexander said.
Maynard pointed to data analysis as the biggest factor in the school’s recent success, and students and staff alike are encouraged to set and meet their personal goals.
“We are huge data people. We truly look at every piece of data we can and plan according to the needs of our students. We are very goal oriented and work hard so that our students fully and truly understand what they are supposed to be learning,” Maynard said. “The students are taking ownership of their own education. When they look at their own goals and how they are meeting them, they are being accountable. The kids are in charge of their learning just as much as our staff is.”
The Department of Education will formally recognize the 349 Blue Ribbon schools at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 7 and 8.
Follow reporter Luke Creasy on Twitter and Facebook @HDcreasy.