Kudos to Baker-Butler Elementary School on its selection as a National Blue Ribbon School for its success in closing achievement gaps.
The Albemarle County school was one of four in Virginia to be so honored by the U.S. Department of Education.
Reductions in achievement gaps were tracked over three years, beginning with the 2016-17 school year.
Baker-Butler improved student scores among several demographic groups, including English language learners, students with disabilities, and students from economically disadvantaged homes.
This year, of course, was an anomaly because testing was canceled due to the hardships and disruptions caused by COVID.
But that was also why the award was especially welcome, said Principal Seth Kennard; it was a bright spot and an encouragement during an especially difficult season.
“The timing [is] great as we’re all working really hard during difficult times,” he said. “It’s recognition that all the hard work of the teachers and staff is having an impact. … [We] have a group of teachers that just believe in our kids and want to look at their kids as individuals and build relationships with them and have them succeed.”
The work of former Principal Steve Saunders, who moved to Greer Elementary last year, also contributed greatly to Baker-Butler’s progress.