Grand Haven school nominated for national award

Krystle Wagner • Jan 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Blue paper ribbons hang outside the classrooms at Griffin Elementary School.

They identify the Grand Haven school as one of 13 Michigan schools nominated for the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Award.

Principal Debra Mann was notified of the nomination late last week. She said the school is being recognized for its hard work.

“I am so proud of everyone — teachers, staff, students, parents and all our community members who have come in to support our students and families,” Mann said. “This school really has a positive team approach. We know that it takes all of us working together to be successful.”

Following the announcement, a Griffin staff member went home and made large blue ribbons that read, “National Blue Ribbon Award Nominee for 2016.”

Dr. Erika Bolig, director of the office of evaluations, strategic research and accountability for the Michigan Department of Education, explained that each state can nominate a set number of schools for the national recognition, although more schools also meet the criteria. Bolig said the criteria includes: being a Reward School; meeting annual measurable objectives; being in the top 15 percent of all schools in English language arts and math in the state; subgroups must be in the top 40 percent in the state; and, if a high school, having a graduation rate in the top 15 percent.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Andy Ingall said the entire district’s staff is proud Griffin earned the nomination.

“I am particularly proud that this nomination comes, in part, from a significant closure of their achievement gap,” he said. “We attribute this recognition to the dedication and hard work from Principal Deb Mann, staff, students and families.”

Mann must now fill out the application from the U.S. Department of Education, which explains the school’s demographics and strategies for helping students reach their “fullest potential academically, emotionally, physically and socially,” she said.

In the fall, Bolig said the state will have to send the U.S. Department of Education information about whether or not the school met its annual measurable objectives.

Other West Michigan schools are on the list of nominees, but Bolig said she was unable to disclose the names of those schools at this time.

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