Annie Fisher STEM Magnet Selected as 2012 National Blue Ribbon School



Issue 15    Spetember 14, 2012

Annie Fisher  STEM Magnet Selected as
2012 National Blue Ribbon School 

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Hartford’s STEM Magnet at Annie Fisher School was selected as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School for its overall academic excellence and its progress in closing the achievement gap between urban and suburban students.

STEM at Fisher was one of only 269 public and private schools nationwide to be so honored. Three other Hartford Public Schools have been elevated to Blue Ribbon Status in the past 10 years: Hartford Magnet Middle School (2006), Dwight Elementary School (2005) and Simpson Waverly Elementary School (2003).

Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto, joined by Principal Melony M. Brady and Matt Fleury, the CEO of the Connecticut Science Center, broke the news of the award to more 400 cheering students, parents and staff members at a press conference and celebration held in the school building at 280 Plainfield Street.

“Once again, Hartford Public Schools continues to create outstanding schools focused on providing a highly engaging learning environment where students have access to a rigorous curriculum focused on college readiness,” Superintendent Kishimoto said. “Our teachers are passionate, committed to Hartford children and youth and innovative in their instructional approaches as they integrate science content with applied learning opportunities in their community.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools program, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Education, measures academic excellence based on a school’s performance on state standardized examinations, such as the Connecticut Mastery Test. The program also singles out schools that significantly improve learning, when more than 40 percent of their students come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In addition to prestige, Blue Ribbon designation vastly improves a school’s chances of securing public and private education grants and its popularity among families participating in the annual School Choice lottery.

This year, STEM at Fisher recorded an Overall School Index (OSI) of 88.3 percentage points, the third highest in the district. The school, which has 359 students in grades K through 8, also registered an OSI increase from the previous year of 7.3 percentage points – and the highest overall increase of any Hartford public school (42.8 percentage points) since the district’s reform began in 2006.  Nearly 60 percent of the students at STEM at Fisher are eligible for federal free and
reduced meals based on family income.

“Receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award is an honor that validates how a community with one common vision, dream and belief that every child is deserving of a phenomenal educational experience will surpass academic expectations and beat the odds,” Principal Brady said. “I am humbled by our 359 students, 59 staff members and 325 families who give their time, energy, effort and love to ensure that our school is a success. It is without a shadow of a doubt that this acknowledgement recognizes the power of collaboration, partnership, and educational autonomy that drives reform.”

The Blue Ribbon award is but the latest in a series of recognitions that have been bestowed on STEM at Fisher. Last spring, a science experiment developed by the students at the school blasted into space on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station. STEM at Fisher was also featured as one of Connecticut’s top schools in the educational documentary “Great Expectations: Raising Student Achievement”, produced by the Connecticut Council for Educational Reform. Staff members, moreover, receive more than 220 hours of direct professional development training from the Connecticut Science Center.

In order to be considered for a National Blue Ribbon Award, schools must first be nominated by their state’s Department of Education. The federal Department of Education then invites each nominated school to submit a 16-page application, including a long narrative describing the school’s climate, leadership, mission, professional development standards and how it improves achievement among all students, regardless of their background.

In addition, all public schools considered for the award must have made Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act for three years in a row. The U.S. Department of Education will honor the winning schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 in Washington, D. C.

“Our nation has a responsibility to help all children realize their full potential,” Secretary Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing studentsfor success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and education is the pathway to a strong, secure future.”

 AF-STEM & HPS Staff hold the Blue Ribbon.

Martin Folan, John Laverty and Diana Roberge-Wentzell enjoy the ceremony.

The Annie Fisher STEM Band played, led by Ms. Corneau.


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