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Century Elementary earns national recognition

Century Elementary is one of eight schools in Minnesota to be named as a 2007 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School, US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced this week.

Century Elementary is one of eight schools in Minnesota to be named as a 2007 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School, US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced this week.

The school is one of 287 in the nation named as recipients of "one of the most prestigious education awards in the country."

Century Elementary was selected based on the criteria of being a school "with at least 40 percent of the students from disadvantaged backgrounds dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests."

"It's an honor," principal Mitch Peterson said Wednesday.

The state Department of Education had contacted the school last year, citing the "excellent test results." Century Elementary demographics indicated the school was a candidate for the award, he said.

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"The last criteria was making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)" in reading, language arts and math, Peterson said.

Forty-nine percent of the Century Elementary student population qualifies for free and reduced meals; 20 percent receive special education services.

"State test results are always the top in the area and receiving top designations consistently throughout the years," Peterson wrote in a summary. "These results are due to the hard work of the students, parents, faculty and staff, and community. The school has achieved outstanding results despite having very severe budget reductions and limitations.

"We believe in providing a challenging curriculum to create confident, well educated learners, placing a strong emphasis on reading, mathematical reasoning and computation, and personal expression of ideas through speaking and writing.

"As professional educators, we encourage scientific exploration, artistic creativity, physical activity and health awareness. These academic skills are integrated across the curriculum," Peterson stated.

"These schools are proving that when we raise the bar, our children will rise to the challenge," Spellings said. "It takes a lot of hard work by teachers and students to become a Blue Ribbon school, and it's a privilege to celebrate their great efforts."

Century School administrators and staff will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC Nov. 12-13.

jeanr@parkrapidsenterprise.com

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