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A Blue Ribbon for Oakland

November 20, 2015

By Maya K.

In 2015, Montclair Elementary received the National Blue Ribbon Award from Arnie Duncan, United States Secretary of Education.

Montclair was the only Oakland school to receive the award in 2015.
Blue ribbon illustration by Brandon
In 2010, Lincoln Elementary earned the award. In 2011, Peralta Elementary also received it. That is only three schools in six years, and only eight Oakland schools have ever won the award since it was created in 1982. It has been three years since an Oakland school has earned it.

You might think more schools in the last six years would have won it since Oakland is so great! But this award is so hard to earn.

Secretary Duncan recognized just 335 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015 based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, who last counted during the 2009-2010 school year, there are about 98,817 public schools in the United States.

Antwan Wilson, superintendent of Oakland schools, has a message for the people of Montclair: “Thank you for your hard work! For the teachers, I appreciate how hard you work and the sacrifices you make to help students learn. For the students, I appreciate you coming to school, respecting your teachers, staff, and volunteers at the school and honoring yourselves and families by working hard to learn and have fun.”

Third grade student Kyra E. stated that she thought Montclair won the award because “the kids were working hard to get good grades and the teachers were helping them reach their goals.”

Kimberly Nibblett, a third grade teacher at Montclair, said “she was pleasantly surprised and honored” when asked how winning the award made her feel. Nibblett reflected that winning the award was “a unifying event for our staff.”

Nancy Bloom, Montclair’s principal, shared that “every time I think about it, I smile and do a little happy dance.” Montclair students report seeing Mrs. Bloom happy dancing around campus this past month.

The school celebrated with Otter Pop popsicles. In addition, the school was invited to participate in a parade.

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