Three Queens elementary schools were honored for being high performing schools, earning them the federal government’s prestigious Blue Ribbon award and a brand new banner across the school.
On Thursday, September 15, the United States Department of Education named P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows and Bayside schools P.S. 159 and P.S. 130 as Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon program honors public and private schools that have demonstrated significant student achievement.
According to David Thomas, spokesperson for the United States Department of Education, the three schools received awards for consistently performing at high levels on New York State assessments in both reading and mathematics. Their most recent assessment test scores place them amongst the highest in the nation.
The three schools join the nation’s 302 other private and public school honorees this year.
“This just felt like an acknowledgement of all the hard work that has been taking place over the years,” said Michelle Contratti, principal of P.S. 130. “In a way, we now have this awesome responsibility to continue maintaining this excellence and even surpass it. Once you’ve been given such a prestigious honor, it certainly isn’t the end.”
Contratti also said her students are beaming with pride and excitement.
“They know we did something really good and now we received a positive consequence afterward. It’s very tangible to them,” she said.
For Principal Paul Didio of P.S. 159, who just finished his second week as principal, the award couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It sets the bar very high for me and I continue to hold the highest expectations that my predecessors did,” he said.
This year’s Blue Ribbon honorees are invited to an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November. The principal and one teacher from each school may attend.
“It makes us feel like we’re doing the right thing. It also gives the community a reason to say, ‘This is what 173 is all about,’” Wang said. “We’re very proud.”