The Northern Ozaukee School District marked Ozaukee Middle School’s designation as a national Blue Ribbon Award winner with a gala celebration last week.
Appearances by Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and state lawmakers Duey Stroebel and Rob Brooks got plenty of attention at the March 25 assembly.
Ozaukee County Board Chairman Lee Schlenvogt and County Administrator Tom Meaux were also on hand.
But Supt. Blake Peuse looked in a different direction for the highlight of the day.
For Peuse, the gathering was a showcase of students and staff.
“What was most exciting were the speeches given by our students,” Peuse said.
“Middle school students Carla Wolff and Abigayle Miller, along with high school student Haley Olig, were the real stars of the assembly. They did an outstanding job of capturing many of the reasons why Ozaukee Middle School and NOSD are a great place to be.”
The student a cappella group Under A Rest performed the National Anthem and members of the Student Council recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Students also introduced the various speakers.
The school district received word last fall that the middle school was a winner of a U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award.
The formal award presentation was held in Washington, D.C. in November, but a school celebration was delayed until last week.
OMS was one of only 25 middle schools in the country, and the only one in Wisconsin, to receive the honor.
The school was singled out for “achievement gap closing,” recognizing efforts to reach and teach students of all abilities.
Classroom performance and future high school graduation rates are some of the measures used to verify the progress the school is making.
Peuse said the honor extends to the elementary school that sets the foundation for the middle school, as well as the high school which encourages students to work to their capabilities.
“Not only are our students performing at high levels, but our students at all levels of learning are moving forward in an increasing fashion,” he said.
In a statement announcing this year’s Blue Ribbon winners, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the program is designed to recognize that learning knows no boundaries.
“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education — that all students, no matter their name or ZIP code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative and challenging learning environments,” Duncan said.
Image information: PLENTY OF DIGNITARIES were on hand last week when Ozaukee Middle School students and staff celebrated being named a national Blue Ribbon Award winner. Students (front row) Jotham Higginbotham and Carla Wolff held plaques commemorating the honor, as (back row, from left) Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, incoming State Sen. Duey Stroebel, State Rep. Rob Brooks, Ozaukee County Administrator Tom Meaux and County Board Chairman Lee Schlenvogt looked on. Photos by Sam Arendt