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Pomp & Circumstance Here & in Washington!

DC West Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School

It is a coveted national award! The U.S. Department of Education picked DC West Elementary School as one of 335 schools nationwide to receive the 2015 National Blue Ribbon School designation for achieving and maintaining the highest levels of academic excellence. This is welcome news and highlights why DC West Elementary is a great school.

Honored in Washington, DC. Nov. 10, 2015. From Left: DC West Elementary Principal Duane Krusemark, 4th Grade Teacher, Miss Samantha Parolek, 3rd Grade Teacher, Mrs. Corissa Hays, 4th Grade Teacher, Mrs. Mary Jean Fitzgerald, 2nd Grade teacher, Mrs. Connie Rance. Photo courtesy of Samantha Parolak via Twitter.
"Receiving the Blue Ribbon for sustaining exemplary high performance validates our hard work in hiring and maintaining high quality staff. It is a tribute to our teachers and students," said Duane Krusemark, Principal of Douglas County West Elementary. 
"DC West Elementary is exceptional based on a combination of our teachers, their relationship with students and our small classroom size, which is under 20 students to one teacher. This designation is a tremendous honor that we are very proud to receive," said Krusemark. 
Arne Duncan
Retired U.S. Secretary of Education
Now retired U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had stated the National Blue Ribbon award honors schools that are "leading students to the highest level of achievement or making outstanding progress in closing achievement gaps." Duncan added that "this honor recognizes your students' accomplishments, and the amazing hard work and dedication that went into your success."
"Every day, even in the midst of very real challenges, you (teachers, administrators & support staff) try to make an imperfect world a little bit better. Working together we can provide a world class education to students in all of our nation's schools. We can and must reaffirm the promise that in America education is the great equalizer. Let's work together so that all of our schools inspire our children and empower their dreams. Again, thank you for this tremendous honor, and thank you so much for the commitment you show each and every day," emphasized Duncan during a recent video announcement from Washington, D.C.
DC West Elementary, with currently 305 students, is one of five Nebraska elementary schools to receive the award, based on maintaining the highest level of standardized testing performance in both math and reading. To qualify, at least 40% of students come from low income homes. St. Robert Bellarmine School in Omaha was the other metro-area elementary given the 2015 National Blue Ribbon designation.
Representatives of DC West Elementary School were honored during a Nov. 10, 2015 recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. 
Back in Valley, pomp and circumstance was scheduled at DC West in celebration of the National Blue Ribbon honor.
DC West | Blue Ribbon Ceremony | Watch Short Video
DC West Elementary held an awards ceremony on Friday, November 13th at 1:00 p.m. U.S. veterans presented the colors, cheerleaders showed their spirit and the high school band performed the national anthem. 
Superintendent Melissa Poloncic took to the podium, as did Neb. U.S. Representative Brad Ashford and Nebraska Deputy Education Commissioner Dr. Deborah Frison. 
In its 33-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award to more than 8,000 American schools.
Watch the Announcement from now retired U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, here.