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Jefferson County school gets blue ribbon honor

May 22, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - South Jefferson Elementary School has been named a Blue Ribbon school, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a school, school officials said Tuesday night.

The school was informed last Friday that it had received the award. Principal Gretchen Van Camp and some of the school's staff will be honored during a banquet in Charleston, W.Va., on July 30.

South Jefferson Elementary, located along Summit Point Road between Charles Town and Summit Point, is one of four schools across the state to get the award, said Van Camp.

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Van Camp said she does not know which schools received the other awards.

To become a Blue Ribbon school, a school must demonstrate five characteristics: High student achievement and rigorous curriculum, a drug-free environment, strong partnership between families, the school and the community, an environment that strengthens teaching skills and documented student achievement.

School officials filled out the application for the award and it was visited by a Blue Ribbon review official in April, said Van Camp.

Van Camp told the Jefferson County Board of Education Tuesday night she believes this is the first time a Jefferson County School has been named a Blue Ribbon school.

"I'm so proud to be a part of that. We are just really elated at this point," Van Camp said.

Individual states usually select Blue Ribbon schools. In past years, a national Blue Ribbon school has been named, although that program has been discontinued, said Van Camp.

Van Camp said she believes South Jefferson's push to incorporate computer technology as much as possible in studies and its use of "theme units" helped the school get the top honor.

In "theme units," students will study a theme for a year, such as space, insects or the state of West Virginia. The study program involves different activities, such as use of a guest speakers and field trips, Van Camp said.

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