The Edmond Sun

December 8, 2012

Santa Fe High School celebrates Blue Ribbon status

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Santa Fe students, faculty and staff celebrated the high school’s becoming Edmond Public School’s 10th Blue Ribbon School during a Friday morning assembly.

Among the dignitaries present were Superintendent David Goin, State Superintendent Janet Barresi, Santa Fe Principal Jason Hayes, former principal and current EPS Director of Secondary Education Jason Brown and state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, an education supporter in the Legislature. School board President Jamie Underwood and board member Kathleen Duncan also attended the event.

“Santa Fe High School, a national Blue Ribbon School for 2012. Give yourselves a hand,” Hayes said evoking a spirited round of applause from the 2,100 students in the gym.

Hayes said Santa Fe is one of only six schools in the state to be so honored this year, the only high school in the state to be so honored and one of only 314 schools public or private nationwide to be so honored. Since 2007, school academic gains in every subgroup have far exceeded the national average, Hayes said.

Officials also judge whether or not a school is well rounded. Hayes said that holds true when you look at Santa Fe’s  state athletic championships, fine arts program, activities, charities and service to the community. For example, the school just completed a canned food drive for a local food bank and it supports the annual Double Wolf Dare Week.

“When you take all these things together, that is what makes Santa Fe an amazing school,” Hayes said. “Our theme for this year was believe excellence, achieve excellence. Because that’s what you’ve been doing.”

Hayes also recognized the contributions from school faculty and staff and from support from the district’s administration. Goin said Santa Fe did not become what is overnight, that it was built throughout its 20-year history. Goin said graduates repeatedly praise the preparation they received while they were at the high school.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently recognized schools from across the country that became 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels. The schools were honored during a recognition ceremony Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.

Santa Fe was nominated for the award by the Oklahoma Department of Education and compiled a lengthy application during the 2011-12 school year which included test score data, a summary of the school’s strengths, successful academic strategies and the professional development program for teachers, Edmond Public Schools spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said.

To qualify for this award, Santa Fe had to meet the federal Adequate Yearly Progress benchmark for three straight years in addition to ranking among the state’s highest performance levels as measured on state assessments, Parks-Schlepp said.

Santa Fe is the 10th school in Edmond to receive such recognition, the most of any school district in Oklahoma.

Edmond’s 10 Blue Ribbon Schools are: Santa Fe, Memorial and North high schools, Central, Cimarron, Sequoyah, Summit and Cheyenne middle schools and Northern Hills and Russell Dougherty Elementary Schools. | 341-2121, ext. 108