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Spring Valley is a Blue Ribbon nominee
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Spring Valley Elementary School has always been a winner, and now it may earn some nationwide accolades for it efforts.

The facility is among eight nominated by State Superintendent Tony Evers to compete for honors as a National Blue Ribbon School.

The program recognizes overall academic excellence or progress in improving student achievement.

“It’s a great honor,” Principal Tollef Wienke said, and one that came as a surprise as well. “We had no idea this was happening prior to receiving an announcement from the state. It was a big surprise for everyone.

Along with Spring Valley, nominees include Cedarburg High School, Fennimore Elementary School, Lakeshore Elementary School in Fond du Lac, Ozaukee Middle School in Fredonia, Prairie View Elementary School in Mukwonago, Roosevelt Elementary School in Janesville and Westside Elementary School in River Falls.

The nominees must complete an extensive application and undergo a national review process. Awards are typically announced in early September.

“Student academic success is at the center of daily activity for Blue Ribbon School nominees,” Evers said. “The teachers, school leaders, and staff members as well as the school community come together to support high levels of learning for all students.”

At Spring Valley, Wienke said the nomination is a credit to the hard work and dedication of the teachers, the families and the students.

“There is an amazing camaraderie between the staff and families,” Wienke said. “When you combine these things, you get a special bond that helps everyone, especially the students.”

Wienke added that Spring Valley maintains a friendly, open and inviting atmosphere, with respect for staff and students.

“The staff here really wants what is best for the students,” he said. “They have high expectations, and they follow through.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program began in 1982 and has recognized nearly 7,000 of America’s schools since that time.

Selection criteria for this year’s program require that schools have at least 100 students and be open for at least five years. Additionally, schools must have met annual measurable objectives for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.

Awards will be given in two categories. “Exemplary High Performing Schools” are those that are in the top 15 percent for performance levels on the state’s reading and mathematics assessments and disaggregated results for subgroups of students show similar academic achievement.

“Exemplary Gap Closing Schools” have at least 40 percent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and have school report card “Closing Gaps” index scores in the top 15 percent of the state. Additionally, disaggregated results for subgroups of students, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, show improvement similar to that of all students.


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Spring Valley Elementary School students and staff give a cheer after being nominated for a national Blue Ribbon award.
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