Special Photo Simpson Elementary School in Peachtree Corners is one of only eight in the state named a Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
PEACHTREE CORNERS -- If teachers, students and administrators at Simpson Elementary seemed happier than usual Friday, there's a good reason.
Early in the morning, US. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that the Peachtree Corners learning facility is one of only eight statewide and 269 across the country designated a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School.
Simpson Elementary was recognized in the Exemplary High Performing category, meaning that it is among Georgia's highest performing schools as measured by state and national assessments.
Duncan said schools like Simpson are the cream of the crop.
"Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers," Duncan said. "Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future."
The blue ribbon distinction also goes to schools with at least 40 percent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have shown big improvements in student performance.
Simpson, however, was honored for its consistently successful student body.
Last year, as part of Georgia's K-12 Public Schools Report Card, the Governor's Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education recognized Simpson with the Platinum Award in the highest performance category, meaning the school demonstrated the highest achievement on the CRCT state assessment.
The blue ribbon designation, said Principal Bron Gayna Schmit, "affirms that setting high expectations for excellence in all areas of school life and focusing on teaching and learning every day, with the constant support of involved parents, is the formula for success."
Schmit likened the formula to a three-legged stool.
"One leg is a dedicated staff who loves children and expects them to be successful every day; the second leg is a student body who comes to school ready to learn; and the third leg is a community of parents and businesses who support the students and staff, cheer and encourage them on the journey. With all three legs in place, the stool has a sturdy foundation."
Schools like Simpson that were selected for the recent honor were nominated by the state superintendent. The secretary of education then invited the nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
Serving about 1,000 students in the Norcross Cluster, Simpson opened in 1993.
The U.S. Department of Education will honor Simpson Elementary and the other 218 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.