This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
For the first time, the U.S. Department of Education has named George A. McCall Elementary School a National Blue Ribbon School. A ceremony was held Thursday afternoon on the school’s playground to celebrate the announcement.
Superintendent William Hite, Mayor Kenney, McCall principal Stephanie McKenna, the mayor’s Chief Education Officer Otis Hackney, Councilman Mark Squilla, and McCall students, staff, and family members attended the celebration. The Philadelphia 76ers Dunk Squad, presented by Dunkin’ Donuts, performed as a part of the festivities.
“The School District of Philadelphia congratulates McCall School on this outstanding accomplishment,” said Hite in a statement.
“McCall has made great strides in recent years, especially around school progress and climate. On behalf of the entire District, I applaud principal Stephanie McKenna and the students, teachers, and families who have made this exciting award possible.”
McCall is the only District school to be named a Blue Ribbon School this year. The prestigious honor goes to public and private elementary, middle and high schools throughout the country where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing.
According to a press release, the elementary school serves about 735 K-8 students. It was named a City Leader among K-8 schools on the District’s 2015-2016 School Progress Report (SPR), which measures schools on school achievement, growth, and climate. The school also received a “Model” distinction for its overall SPR score.
This Blue Ribbon award comes at a time when overall progress is being recognized in the School District of Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the District celebrated the important gains in students’ academic performance on the PSSA and Keystone exams.
“It is a tremendous honor for McCall School to have achieved this recognition,” said McKenna in a statement.
“This award is a validation of the commitment that our staff makes on a daily basis to provide each student with the best education possible. The success of McCall is a reflection of a dedicated staff, students who come eager to learn each day, high levels of parent engagement, and strong community partnerships.”
McCall School will be celebrated along with other National Blue Ribbon School honorees at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.