“I am honored to receive this national award and have the opportunity to meet with leaders from other award-winning Blue Ribbon schools,” Gardner said. “When we pool our knowledge and experiences about educating our young people, everyone wins.”
The U.S. Dept. of Education recognized Gardner for moving Piedmont IB Middle from under-performing to high-performing. Piedmont was one of the top-achieving schools in CMS in 2010-11, based on the national Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) model and state ABC reports. Piedmont IB Middle was named a National Blue Ribbon school in September for achieving overall academic excellence.
The use of professional learning communities (PLCs), high-quality staff development and regular classroom observations has helped Piedmont IB Middle succeed. Gardner and her administrative team monitor the PLCs instructional planning, attend grade-level and subject area-meetings and develop coordinated strategies for planning lessons. They also use data to enhance instruction and identify areas for improvement.
“Dee Gardner is a Renaissance principal,” said Dawn Robinson, who oversees the CMS Northeast Zone, which includes Piedmont. “She is well-versed in educational practices that yield high-quality instruction.”
Staff from the U.S. Department of Education presented the award at the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Awards Ceremony. The Bell award is named for former U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell who served during the Reagan administration.