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    North Kirkwood Middle School (NKMS) in the Kirkwood School District was one of eight Missouri schools to earn a 2021 National Blue Ribbon Award. On September 21, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

    “I could not be more proud,” said Dr. Dana Liberton, principal of NKMS, in a special video announcement. “We know that our students are amazing, we hire the best staff around and our community support is unmatched. Put all of that together, and the recipe comes to National Blue Ribbon.”  


    “Congratulations to the students, staff and administration of North Kirkwood Middle School,” said Superintendent David Ulrich. “This recognition highlights the hard work that goes into serving these students each and every day. It’s a great reflection of the work and dedication parents and the community have come to expect at all of our schools.” 


    This is the second time NKMS has been selected for the National Blue Ribbon. In the nearly 40 year history of the program, only 30 schools in the state have been recognized with the National Blue Ribbon twice.


    NKMS is planning additional celebrations to be announced in the coming weeks. 


    Additional information released from the U.S. Department of Education:


    U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Secretary Cardona will make the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip, where he will visit an awardee school, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Illinois.

    "This year's cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish," said Secretary Cardona. "I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better."

    The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.  Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

    The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

    • Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
    • Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school's student groups and all students.

    Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon Schools nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.


    Additional information from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

    Missouri’s eight Gold Star Schools for 2021 have also been recognized as U.S. Department of Education (USED) National Blue Ribbon Schools. The National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes individual schools for either their outstanding academic achievement (top 15 percent in the state based on English and mathematics assessment scores and graduation rates) or their performance at high academic levels while serving a significant proportion of disadvantaged students.

    Missouri’s 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools include:

    • Bloomfield Middle School, Bloomfield R-XIV School District
    • Delta Woods Middle School, Blue Springs R-IV School District
    • Wydown Middle School, Clayton School District
    • Francis Howell Middle School, Francis Howell R-III School District
    • Skyline Middle School, Hickory Co. R-I School District
    • North Kirkwood Middle School, Kirkwood R-VII School District
    • Mansfield Junior High School, Mansfield R-IV School District
    • Wilson’s Creek 5-6 Intermediate Center, Springfield R-XII School District

    “Congratulations to the students, teachers, and staff members of each of these schools for this impressive accomplishment,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “These schools exemplify what it takes to prepare students for success in school and in life while working hard to meet the needs of each individual child.”

    Last month, these eight schools were honored as Missouri Gold Star Schools, a program established by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 1991. They were then nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, which shares the same nomination criteria as the Gold Star Schools award. To date, more than 9,000 schools across the country have been presented with this coveted U.S. Department of Education award.

    The 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools award ceremony will be held November 4 and 5 in National Harbor, MD. Photographs and brief descriptions of all 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available from USED here.


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  • Has a teacher impacted your child in a positive way? Have you wanted to tell a teacher what a great job they are doing but haven't quite had the chance? If so, consider sharing that positive impact by filling out a NKMS Positive Staff Referral! This is a simple Google Form that takes just a few minutes and will really brighten a teacher's day. The teacher receives an electronic certificate and a great pat on the back! Thank you for considering this act of kindness for our staff.


    Click Here to Send a Positive Referral!

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District News

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