DAPHNE – Daphne Elementary School was recognized as one of the top schools in Alabama and the nation Friday by being named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2019.
Only five schools in Alabama were among the 362 schools in the country to receive the award. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
The award was announced Friday during a ceremony at the DES gymnasium attended by state, county and city officials.
Eric Mackey, Alabama superintendent of education, said the award is a rare recognition for any school.
“There are very few across the country and only just a few here,” Mackey said. “Daphne Elementary School is a regular school in a regular community. It’s the extraordinary leadership here, great teachers, strong community support.”
He said other schools can learn from the success of programs recognized at Daphne.
“The point is to honor the highest of the cream of the crop and that’s what Daphne is, but we do want to learn from schools and spread that around,” Mackey said. “The Leader in Me program. That’s a great program. It’s not just teaching students, that is, it doesn’t just focus on academics. It focuses on building the whole child, being a great leader, being a person who treats others as they should be treated.”
Daphne Mayor Dane Haygood said DES is the second of the five schools in the Daphne attendance zone to receive the award. Daphne High School was also named a Blue Ribbon School several years ago, he said.
“For two schools in the same feeder pattern to receive this is very rare,” he said. “We’re probably the only one in the state and I don’t know of another in the country. I think it’s a great reflection on the community.”
Eddie Tyler, Baldwin County superintendent of education, said the award shows the quality of schools throughout the county.
“They represent what goes on across our county in all of our students,” Tyler said. “Our whole system has received not only state recognition, but national recognition in the last five years with emphasis being put on academics and how we are managing our funds to build $100 million worth of schools.”
In a statement announcing the award, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said the award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.
“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives” DeVos said in a video message played at the DES assembly. “As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning.”