What were the highlights of the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Conference?

Posted by Ronald | December 19, 2013  |  No Comment

In an unorthodox way, Nelson Mandela and Walt Disney made great contributions to the world. Disney built a family park where parents could take their children for fun. Mandela built a nation where people could exercise their human rights without the fear of violence. In this 21st century, this same level of vision is needed for our educational institutions. While attending the 2013 Blueprint for Excellence National Conference on December 10 – 13th at Walt Disney World Resort, Fla., there were networking and sharing of best practices to support the sustainability and vitality of our educational institutions. In an effort to share the good news to educators around the globe, the critical questions to be asked are: What were the highlights of the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE) Conference? What are the nine major categories of critical performance elements found in excellent schools? What schools are recipients of the 2013 Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Award?

Through the visionary leadership of Bart Teal, President and CEO of the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, Inc., the conference provided sharing and modeling of educational excellence for the improvement of our educational institutions. There were meaningful, enlightening and inspiring sessions on engaging students in the learning process, creating a socially inclusive environment for all students and leading the transformation of education. There was also a session on Appreciative Education (AE). According to Dr. Jennifer Bloom, AE “is a theory-to-practice framework to ensure that students of all ages have access to an education that will empower them to become their best selves. The framework provides educational leaders with the tools they need to effectively manage their organization and culture.”

In support of school stakeholders, one of Teal’s best practices is the school improvement process that covers nine major categories of critical performance elements proven by research to lead to educational achievement. These areas include: student focus and support; school organization and culture; challenging standards and curriculum; active teaching and learning; technology integration; professional community; leadership and educational vitality; school, family, and community partnerships and indicators of success.

As participating schools demonstrate exemplary performance in these categories, they become recipients of the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Award and are recognized at the conference for their performance. The following are some of the 2013 Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School Award winners: Spartanburg Preparatory School, Spartanburg, S.C.; Saint Ann Catholic School, Nashville, Tenn. and Hartselle High School, Hartselle, Ala. Other winners and a full description of BRSE can be viewed on its website at: http://www.blueribbonschools.com/.

We commend Teal for creating a pathway for sharing and modeling of educational excellence to support the critical needs of our educational institutions. We also congratulate the 2013 Blue Ribbon schools for contributing to the achievement of our nation’s children.

 Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of four books, “Education Questions to be Answered,”  “Current Issues and Answers in Education,”  “How to Eradicate Hazing and “Professional Career Paths.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper.  Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected].

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