Superintendent Steve Switzer might be tempted to tie a big, bright blue ribbon around Pettisville High School here, but something more low key - perhaps flags - will draw attention to the school's high achievement.
School officials last week learned that Pettisville High School has been selected as a Blue Ribbon School for 2005 by the U.S. Department of Education. The school was one of 16 Ohio schools, and one of 295 nationwide, to earn the designation.
Since 1982 the Blue Ribbon Schools program has honored many of America's most successful schools, and a Blue Ribbon flag waving overhead has become a trademark of excellence.
"I'm impressed. I'm pleased with that," Mr. Switzer said about the honor, and he replied with an enthusiastic "yes" when asked if school officials plan to publicize the national designation. The "Blue Ribbon" designation could be featured on a seal or flag, for instance, and perhaps it will be incorporated into the school district's letterhead.
Pettisville's high school, which includes grades seven to 12, has about 280 students. Schools can earn a "No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon" through three categories, all of which are primarily based on achievement test results, including schools with overall high performance; schools showing significant progress even though at least 40 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, or private schools scoring in the top 10 percent of the nation.
Pettisville High School was selected under the "overall high performance" category.
In previous years, very few high schools have been so honored, Mr. Switzer noted. In 2003, 14 public high schools nationwide received the designation. In 2004, 33 were honored. In 2005, Pettisville joins six other Ohio high schools earning the designation. Nationwide, 38 high schools were honored.
Michael Lane, high school principal, said that the award "is a tribute to the entire Pettisville community," adding that "Pettisville students and faculty have a unique and mutually rewarding relationship that opens doors to educational opportunities. I am pleased for the students, faculty, staff and parents to be recognized in this manner. Being a part of a school receiving this special recognition is an honor unparalleled in my career."
Mr. Switzer said that the national award "affirms the outstanding work that the principal,Mr. Lane, the high school faculty, and most importantly, the students are doing. It is also a tribute to the parental support that our students receive. It is further evidence that Pettisville students take learning seriously."
Based on information provided by Pettisville Local Schools, since the program begin, only two schools from the four-county area have been honored, and Pettisville High School is the only public school and only high school. St. Paul Lutheran's school in Napoleon was honored in 1988.
The award will be presented to the high school principal and a Pettisville teacher at a ceremony in Washington in November.