Fremont Elementary School is a blue ribbon winner.
It is one of eight schools in the state to be named a Blue Ribbon School and among 305 nationwide to receive the honor.
A total of 415 public and private schools from throughout the nation were nominated for the award.
“We’re very pleased and excited about the national recognition,” said District Administrator Scott Bleck. “As a district, we work for academic success.”
He said the award is not only about Fremont Elementary but about the entire district as it strives to create positive learning environments for all of its students.
“The award recognizes the hard work at Fremont Elementary and district-wide,” Bleck said.
Kirk Delwiche, principal of both Fremont and Weyauwega elementary schools, said, “It’s a huge honor, but it’s very humbling.”
State Superintendent Tony Evers nominated the eight schools based on criteria in two categories: dramatically improving schools and high performing schools.
Dramatically improving schools are those that have made adequate yearly progress and have at least 40 percent of their student population from disadvantaged backgrounds. Disadvantaged is defined as eligibility for free or reduced-price meals.
Student achievement on state assessments must have improved over the past five years to now be above the 60th percentile in reading and mathematics.
High performing schools also must have met the state’s adequate yearly progress objectives for the previous two years and be among the top 15 percent of all schools for that grade configuration on state assessments in both reading and mathematics.
“We were nominated on the basis of consistently high scores,” Delwiche said. “They look at the previous five years of testing.”
Last fall, the district was notified that it had been nominated.
Then, the process began.
“The DPI had to verify that we met our annaul yearly progress for the last two years, and we did that,” he said.
All of the teachers at Fremont Elementary worked with Delwiche to complete the lengthly application. It included demographics data, indicators of academic success, asessment results and also information about curriculum and instruction.
“That process was a long process,” Delwiche said.
The application had to be in by last February, and last Thursday, Sept. 15, the district learned that it had been named a Blue Ribbon School.
“It recognizes the things we did as a staff to help our students succeed,” Delwiche said. “We do our job because we love it, not because of awards we can get.”
He said the district works as a team to promote the success of each student.
“We look at a student-by-student basis to help them succeed,” Delwiche said. “We do lots of data crunching to try to find the best tools for teaching them.”
Receiving the news last week was exciting for Delwiche, the staff at Fremont Elementary and for the students.
He went into each classroom and talked to the students about the honor, telling them they might hear something about their school on the news and read about it in the newspaper.
“I told them this is not the end of our work. The next step is to take it to the next level. Our work can never be done,” Delwiche said.
For him, being named a Blue Ribbon School is not just a “tremendous honor” but also a way to show how hard all of the district’s teachers work to help students succeed.
He said retired teachers and former students also played a part in it.
The schools that earned the award will be honored Nov. 14 and 15 in Washington, D.C. Each school will receive a plaque and a flag.
Delwiche hopes to attend with a teacher from Fremont Elementary. Earlier this week, he was investigating the cost of air flights in anticipation of the Monday, Sept. 26 W-F School Board meeting, when it is expected to be discussed..
“It’s a humbling honor,” he said, “but it’s not the end of our work. We have bigger hills to climb, and we will continue to do that as we’ve done before.”