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RAS earns Beacon School distinction for excellence

Ralph Askins School is the newest school in the nation – and one of only three in Tennessee – to earn Beacon School distinction through the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence program.

Based on the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence assessment process, Ralph Askins School has met the required criteria in the nine performance areas of high-performing schools: Student Focus and Support; School Organization and Culture; Challenging Standards and Curriculum; Active Teaching and Learning; Technology and Integration; Professional Community; Leadership and Educational Vitality; School, Family, and Community Partnerships; and Indicators of Success.

In addition to the comprehensive review process for the nine performance areas, Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence also completed stakeholder surveys, interviews and school visits.

“This is a big deal,” said Dr. Claudia Styles, Fayetteville City Schools’ supervisor who is leading the Blue Ribbon effort throughout the system. “In order to achieve this award, a rigorous evaluation process is conducted by outside assessors who closely examine every aspect of the school community.

“Once a school achieves the Lighthouse Blue Ribbon Award, it places them at the top of all schools in our nation,” she added. “The Beacon status demonstrates that RAS is simply one step away from achieving that recognition. This is proof that great things are happening within those classrooms and throughout those hallways! This award not only demonstrates what great teachers we have, but what great students and parents we have.”

 “The Blue Ribbon School process was the most intense, objective and realistic look at our school,” said Tonja Whitenack, RAS principal. “I came away from the process energized and ready to move the school onward and upward.  Every member of our school family took the entire process seriously and worked tirelessly to gather data, making improvements in the school, all while teaching their heart out. 

“We walked away from the BRSE process with strategies and a plethora of ideas to make continuous improvement,” she added. “For this, we are grateful.   This process brought us together, made us stronger, much prouder, and Ralph Askins is a better school for it!”

“It is a great honor to be a part of Ralph Askins Elementary and Fayetteville City Schools,” said Dr. LeEllen Carter, assistant principal. “We are ecstatic to be recognized as a Blue Ribbon Beacon School.  We look forward to working and moving towards the greater goal of Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School.  Our entire Tiger family works hard to provide a great learning environment for our students and the families we serve.  We will celebrate in this moment, but know we still have work to do!  Go Tigers!”

Dr. Judy Warden Fields, CEO of Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, a nonprofit organization, applauded RAS administrators, teachers and staff for their courage, collaborative spirit and commitment to excellence in ensuring all students get the education they deserve.

RAS officials pause for a photo with cake and officials from Blue Ribbon schools