Piedmont Middle School, an IB World School, was named a 2011 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. It is one of 304 schools nation-wide, eight from North Carolina and the only school in CMS, to receive the award. Schools receive the award because of their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps.
“This is a great moment in our school’s history,” said Dee Gardner, principal of Piedmont Middle. “Piedmont Middle has been a school of choice since 1973, serving the diverse needs of the inner city. Our students, teachers and staff have worked together to earn this distinction. We are very proud to be a Blue Ribbon School.”
Piedmont Middle was one of the top-achieving schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 2010-2011, based on the national Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and state ABC reports. In the AYP report, Piedmont Middle met 100 percent of its target goals for the school year. The ABC report indicated it was a High Growth School/Honor School of Excellence, the highest level of achievement possible.
Gardner began working at the school as a Spanish teacher in 1988 and worked as an assistant principal at the school before becoming principal. She believes several key strategies have made Piedmont Middle a success.
“Instruction must be rigorous and relevant, the students need to take responsibility for their learning and there must be a student-centered learning environment,” said Gardner. “We also include reading and literacy skills across all content areas, have a whole child approach to learning, and strong inter- and intra-disciplinary Professional Learning Communities.”
“America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”
Before selecting National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department asks for nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 413 schools nationwide are nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each jurisdiction. The schools are invited by the Secretary of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
A list of the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.