ALPHARETTA (Sept. 15, 2011) — U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has announced that Fulton Science Academy Charter Middle School located in Alpharetta, Georgia was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2011 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
Fulton Science Academy MS will be honored at a formal ceremony in Washington D.C. on November 14-15, 2011. The Blue Ribbon School Program honors public and private K-12 schools for their academic excellence and ability to help students achieve at very high scholastic levels. The program is part of a larger Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.
The U.S. Department of Education named 304 schools as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. The Department will honor the entire 255 public and 49 private schools with National Blue Ribbon School awards.
“America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education,” Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”
The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests; or 2) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally-normed tests. Fulton Science Academy MS students were able to meet and exceed the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence eligibility guidelines in part because its students have continued to score in and above the top 10 percent on state school assessments.
Before selecting National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department asks for nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 413 schools nationwide are nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each jurisdiction. The schools are invited by the Secretary of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
Blue Ribbon Schools are nationally recognized as some of America’s most successful schools. The award acknowledges and validates the hard work of students, staff members, families, and communities in reaching high levels of student achievement. Moreover, Blue Ribbon Schools report a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment at their school. They may be sought out as mentors to other schools or may find that receiving grants and raising funds is a little easier. Communities often report that the award makes their neighborhood a more desirable place to live because parents want their children to attend a Blue Ribbon School—and real estate agents use the Blue Ribbon award as a selling point for those neighborhoods.
Fulton Science Academy Middle School is a Georgia math and science charter school that was founded in 2002 and serves 510 students throughout Fulton County. They have been the recipient of numerous state awards based on academic student success including the recent 2010 Gold Award for Student Achievement, and the highest score in all subject areas on the ITBS among Fulton County middle schools three years in a row. Fulton Science Academy Middle School also now has two sister charter schools: Fulton Sunshine Academy Elementary School and Fulton Science Academy High School also located in North Fulton County.
In addition to its academic achievements, Fulton Science Academy attributes much of its success to the steadfast support it has received from Fulton County, its parents and the broader community. FSA also works hard to foster a small school, family-centered environment among its staff, students, and the community. For example, FSA teachers and administrators take part in weekly “home visits” where they visit students and their families in their home environment. This allows teachers and students to get to know one another better outside of the formal school atmosphere. New 6th grade parents are also invited to small group, “Principal Breakfasts” where the Principal, Kenan Sener, personally updates parents on aspects of the school and answers parent questions while they enjoy breakfast together. These are just a few of the ways that FSA encourages parent and student communication, involvement, and ownership of the school.
Principal Kenan Sener was thrilled about the news of receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award. “I am so happy for our community that we received this prestigious national award. I see this accomplishment as the fruit of our commitment to continuous improvement and the personal attention we give to our students and families. It is especially great to receive this fantastic news in our 10th year as we break ground on our new school building. I would like to thank our wonderful faculty for their dedication to education as well as their care of our precious students. Our success is the result of a team effort, and I would like thank our students, faculty, parents and community for their tireless hard work, dedication and continuous support.”
In a continued effort to give back to the local community while also celebrating diversity, FSA Schools holds an Annual International Heritage Festival at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park. The purpose of this cultural festival is to give the local community the opportunity to explore and learn about all the aspects of the different countries around the globe through music, traditions, food, art, and performances. Through this event, FSA schools hope to give a greater understanding and appreciation of the legacies of our own American citizens and global citizens throughout the world for their children, families, and the broader community.
Local State Senator, John Albers reflected on FSA MS winning the Blue Ribbon award stating, “I am very proud to represent and support Fulton Science Academy. FSA continues to lead the way by achieving outstanding results. It is clear this school is taking education to the next level where we compete globally. As a state, we need to model this approach and use Fulton Science Academy as the example to thrive. Congratulations to the students, teachers, administration, parents and community for being chosen as a National Blue Ribbon School”.
Fulton Science Academy also shares this award with Fulton County, whose leadership, support and personnel have been truly instrumental in allowing FSA to earn this achievement as well as to continue to strive for educational excellence.
Fulton County Area Superintendent Leonard Box stated, “On behalf of all of the Fulton County Schools, I congratulate Fulton Science Academy Middle School’s students, past and present, administration and staff, and parents on the school’s selection as a National Blue Ribbon School 2011. This highest recognition by the United States Department of Education is a tribute to the efforts of all stakeholders who believed in the mission of the school, participated in the total school experience, and benefited from the teaching, learning, and numerous successes at Fulton Science Academy Middle School.”
If you would like more information about Fulton Science Academy, or to schedule an interview with the Principal or a school representative, please contact Public Relations Director, Katherine Dion at (770) 753-4141 ext. 102 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A list of the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.