Seneca Valley is basking in a blue glow.
On Friday, Seneca Valley Middle School was one of 269 schools across the nation recognized as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “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 designation is based on a school’s overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.
Seneca Valley Middle School was on the only school in western Pennsylvania deemed a Blue Ribbon school—and one of only eight in the state to achieve the elite designation.
“I am especially proud of our students, staff and parents for their efforts in attaining such a prestigious honor,” said Seneca Valley Superintendent Dr. Tracy Vitale. “I hope they savor this moment and never forget how sweet the rewards taste when the process of getting there is filled with hard work and challenges.
I am especially pleased with the National Blue Ribbon honor because it demonstrates the kind of academic excellence that is my goal for this entire district.”
The Department of Education will honor about 219 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C. In its 30-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed the award to nearly 7,000 America schools.
According to district officials, Seneca Valley Middle School is being honored as “Exemplary High Performing,” for being among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
“Seneca Valley Middle School is a special place where you have extraordinary people working together with great focus and the same goals in mind, said Dr. Sean McCarty, assistant superintendent and former principal of Seneca Valley Middle School. “There is a core value of collaboration and teaming in that building that has created the opportunity for excellence.”
Andrea Peck, principal for Seneca Valley Middle School, said the Blue Ribbon recognition is a great honor for the school. She added the school’s “teaming philosophy” encourages every child, teacher and parent to be included in the educational process.
At SVMS, everyone is part of the team, and that is the secret to school’s success, she said.
“We are very proud of the progress we make every year to assure that we are meeting the needs of young adolescents,” she said. “Being recognized for our high performance and continuous improvement provides us strong affirmation that we are making a difference.”
A History of Excellence
This isn’t the first time Seneca Valley Middle School has been recognized for its academic prowess.
Last year, the school was named a 2011 Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn Schools: Schools to Watch winner in the National Schools to Watch Program.
Getting there was not easy.
As with the national Blue Ribbon program, becoming a School to Watch involves a rigorous process in which schools are judged on academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organization structures.
—Information submitted by Seneca Valley School District. Have news you'd like to share with Patch readers? Email information and photos to Editor Jessica Sinichak at email@example.com or visit our Neighborhood Gallery.