MOUNT VERNON — Years of hard work and continuous improvement have finally paid off for Twin Oak elementary school, which has been recognized as an Exemplary High Performing Schools National Blue Ribbon School for 2018 by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
“This is great news, it’s so exciting,” Twin Oak Principal Sue Miller told the News. “It just shows that there are wonderful things going on in the district. We’ve had good scores and we’re making progress. And with our story of two schools coming together, West and Elmwood, 13 years ago, our children just have worked so hard and they melt together.”
Miller explained that the Blue Ribbon process began in December 2017 for the school. Twin Oak was nominated by the Ohio Department of Education to apply to become a Blue Ribbon School.
Miller is no stranger to Blue Ribbon schools. She is an experienced educator, who began her teaching career late in life, after her daughter graduated from high school, she explained. She began teaching at the Blue Ribbon winning inner-city school School Twelve in Rochester, New York. She had also taught at inner-city schools in Iowa, before moving to Ohio and into the administrative realm.
“Principal Sue Miller is an outstanding administrator whose unique blend of love, respect and drive for excellence is the catalyst necessary to achieve excellence,” Superintendent Bill Seder told the News. “This award is a testament to her leadership, the staff’s commitment towards their students and hard work of Twin Oak students.”
Twin Oak is one of only 349 schools in the nation that has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon school this year, and it stands as one of 16 schools in the state of Ohio with this distinction. Twin Oak joins East Elementary School as the two schools in the Mount Vernon City School District that have achieved this honor.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools program award recognizes the work of elementary, middle and high schools, either public or private, where “students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap,” according to a press release.
The award affirms the hard work of the students, families and communities creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content, according to a press release.
“I think we’re being recognized for all of our hard work,” Miller said. “At Twin Oak, we are a strong, professional learning community. We, the students and the teachers, all melt together and this is really a recognition of our collaboration and teamwork. And really, it’s the students. They work so hard, and they’re excited about learning. They feel loved and appreciated, and they have an excitement about school and about this award.”
The students were so excited about the recognition, Miller explained, that students lined up in the office with staff members for the announcement Monday.
“We are incredibly proud of the students and staff at Twin Oak Elementary for this prestigious award,” Superintendent Bill Seder wrote in a statement. “While we have many wonderful things going on throughout Mount Vernon City Schools, we are honored to have Twin Oak Elementary recognized as one of only 16 schools in the state of Ohio to receive this award.”
A team of teachers and administration, including Miller, from Twin Oak have been invited to the recognition ceremony Nov. 7-8, in Washington D.C., where they will be presented a National Blue Ribbon School plaque and flags for their achievement. The following week after the ceremony will serve as the school’s Blue Ribbon week, Miller explained, with many activities and celebrations as the staff brings the award back to its place in the annals of Twin Oak history.