Chinhae elementary/middle school earns blue ribbon
ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized Chinhae Naval Base’s Charles Turner Joy Elementary/Middle School as one of 269 schools selected as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools during a ceremony held here Sept. 7 at Arlington Traditional Elementary School.
The annual selection of Blue Ribbon Schools is based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.
CT Joy is one of 184 Department of Defense Education Activity schools located on U.S. military installations worldwide. DODEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools located overseas and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.
Reflecting on why she felt the school was selected, CT Joy Principal Deena Brown said, “Every decision derives from the premise of what is best for kids. We continually seek opportunities to improve our practice and hone our craft as educators.”
According to Brown, tailoring the educational experience to the unique needs of each student also made a difference: “A focus on differentiated instruction and individualized academic goals has led to continued academic success as evidenced by over 98 percent of students being placed on the Principal’s Honor Roll and our selection as a Blue Ribbon School.”
CT Joy first opened in 1960. The school serves children of U.S. military personnel assigned to Chinhae Naval Base to provide services and materials in support of sailors, Marines, families and ships of the fleet during peacetime, exercises and contingency operations.
With a current enrollment of 31, Brown said it takes creative thinking and special cooperation among the students and staff to teach and learn effectively across grades K to 8. Students attend multi-age classes taught by highly-qualified professional educators who are certified across multiple curriculum areas. And strong partnerships, shared leadership, inclusive decision making, and a tradition of excellence all make for a uniquely rewarding experience at CT Joy.
According to DODEA Korea District Superintendent Irby Miller, this award exemplifies the district motto of “relationships, rigor and results.” Miller said teamwork and a commitment to excellence on behalf of military families reveals a special connection between Defense Department schools and their host communities, “To be selected for this prestigious award is not only the highest of honors but also brings well-deserved public attention to the school’s unique contributions to the families it serves.”
Melissa Larot, a fifth-grader at CT Joy said she feels a special connection to her classroom peers, “Everyone knows each other and everyone is nice … I am really proud to be a member of CT Joy, I love it here!
Mark Oxner, a parent of a student enrolled at CT Joy, praised the teachers in an email, “We have never seen a more dedicated teaching staff that goes the extra mile, puts in the extra hours, and provides the extra bit of encouragement that sets CT Joy apart from other DODDS schools.”
Operational Support Officer LCDR Fiona Phoenix agreed and added CT Joy students thrive in the uniquely dynamic and supportive environment, “It has that feeling of family that each one is special and that they need to love and care for each other and become life-long learners.”
In addition to CT Joy, Boeblingen Elementary/Middle School, in Boeblingen, Germany and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Elementary School in Mons, Belgium were also named Blue Ribbon Schools – the most in any one year for DODEA.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is Exemplary High Performing, in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
The second category is Exemplary Improving, in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department of Education requests nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools.
A total of 417 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K to 12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
The Department of Education will honor approximately 219 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 12 and 13 in Washington, D.C. Since its inception 30 years ago, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized nearly 7,000 of America’s top-performing schools.