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Published: Thursday, 9/16/2004

U.S. Education Department cites Ottawa Hills, DeVilbiss

Ottawa Hills Junior-Senior High School and Toledo Public Schools' Toledo Technology Academy were each awarded the No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon award yesterday by the U.S. Department of Education.

It marks the first time a school in the Toledo Public system received the honor, spokesman Jane Bruss said, and the third time for Ottawa Hills Junior-Senior High School, Superintendent Gail Mirrow said.

About 200 people gathered at Toledo's Thomas A. DeVilbiss Academic and Technology Center to receive the academy's award.

"We the students are quite honored to receive this award in light of our school's achievements," student Joe Dixon said. "The Toledo Technology Academy has come a long way in striving for our goals. Although we were not in search of this recognition, our excellence and philosophy of quality has brought this blue ribbon to TTA."

Ms. Mirrow said Ottawa Hills Junior-Senior High School is the only one in the country that has received the federal recognition three years in a row. About 255 schools in the country will receive the award this year, according to the federal department.

Jim Trumm, a parent of children in the Ottawa Hills system and one of those who has prepared the annual application for the award each year, said criteria have changed.

The first time the school received the award, he said, the department stressed the educational process and the curriculum. Now, he said, it is based primarily on achievement.

Mr. Trumm said the department wants not only student proficiency in tests, but the percentage of those in extracurricular activities as well as absentee rates. They also want absentee rates for teachers and staff.

"Almost anything that can be tested or measured is included in the application,'' he said.

Under one of the requirements for the award, schools must have students score in the top 10 percent scholastically. They then are eligible to be nominated by the state department of education. The award is then based on factors in the application.

Katharine Hurst, Ottawa Hills principal, told the assembly at which the award was announced yesterday that it was an honor to receive it but that it belonged to the students, teachers, parents, and volunteers who annually make the school one of high achievement.

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