Minnetonka Middle School West has been recognized as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School. It is one of 325 schools nationwide and one of just six in Minnesota to earn this prestigious distinction. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Up to 420 schools may be nominated by states’ top education officials each year.
“Earning the National Blue Ribbon School distinction truly exemplifies the dedication, persistence and an ever-present pursuit of excellence,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dennis Peterson. “I congratulate the current principal of Minnetonka Middle School West, Freya Schirmacher; the past principal, Dr. Paula Hoff, and all of the teachers and staff at the school who made this accomplishment possible.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.
“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a press release. “I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional and mental health needs.”
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates. Minnetonka Middle School West has been recognized as an Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing School for being among Minnesota’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.
“This award is a true reflection of the small moments of excellence that happen every day at MMW; a student who takes a risk to ask a question, a teacher who works a little bit longer so that a student understands a concept and a family member who partners with a teacher to design a plan for learning. All of these daily moments of dedication, persistence and connection build a culture of excellence for all,” said Freya Schirmacher, principal at MMW.
MMW will receive the award officially at a national awards ceremony in November. Minnetonka Schools is planning an assembly and other activities following that formal ceremony to celebrate this outstanding achievement.
More information about 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available at https://www.nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/.