TP Named 2012 Blue Ribbon School

Timber Point Elementary School in East Islip has received yet another prestigious award. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that Timber Point had been named as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School, based on overall academic excellence.

“It is an honor for Timber Point Elementary to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School,” said the principal, Dr. Lisa Belz, as congratulations poured in from Belz’s fellow principals, administrators and Board of Education members in East Islip.

Acknowledging the selective nature of the award, in which only 268 other American schools were honored this year, East Islip’s Superintendent of Schools John J. Finello said, “Congratulations to Dr. Belz as well as the school’s staff, teachers, students and parents for this wonderful achievement. Timber Point should be commended for the hard work and exemplary commitment to academic goals that enabled the school to receive the National Blue Ribbon designation.”

Since its 1982 inception, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized elementary, middle and high schools, both public and private, where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of academic achievement. Over the last three decades, nearly 7,000 of the nation’s most successful schools have received this superlative award. 

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Secretary Duncan said in a statement. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. Timber Point was chosen in the “Exemplary High Performing” category for schools that are among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

Timber Point was one of only two schools from Suffolk County to receive this honor (the other being Mount Sinai Middle School), and one of only four to be named on Long Island (the two Nassau winners were South Woods Middle School in Syosset and Cantiague Elementary in Jericho).

A total of 417 schools may be nominated nationwide for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award. During the selection process, the Department of Education requests nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education (private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education). The secretary of education then invites each nominated school to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School. Only 19 schools from New York state were nominated this year.

“After Timber Point was nominated last winter,” explained Belz, “we convened a committee to work on creating the application, which took several weeks. The application process was very long, and required very specific information. They asked about parent involvement, our math and ELA curricula, clubs and activities, our mission statement, professional development – a whole slew of things.” Other committee members besides Belz included Donna Beal, Sheryl Beltrami, Cathy Boudart, Vanessa DiPalma, Jeanne Halton, Carla Kellachan, Patrice Mercurio, Jenny O'Connell, Tina Ruggeiro, Jessica Sauers, Jamie Steves, Joan Stone, Jennifer Uss, Joanne Walsh, Kathleen Weiss and Carol Wilson.

Representing Timber Point, Belz will attend the recognition ceremony on Nov. 12-13 in Washington, DC, accompanied by fifth-grade teacher Carol Wilson; the program requires the attendance of a winning school’s building principal and one selected teacher. Along with approximately 269 other schools from across the United States, Timber Point will receive a plaque and flag signifying its status as a National Blue Ribbon School.

“This award would not have been possible without the support of the entire Timber Point community,” said Belz. “I would like to personally thank the Board of Education, administration, a dedicated faculty and the entire support staff for working together and contributing to the success of our student body.”

A list of the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available here.