Vista del Sur Accelerated Academy has been named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary John B. King made the announcement today.
The National Blue Ribbon School program recognizes overall academic excellence. Blue Ribbon Schools show outstanding results for all students. They are known for consistent excellence and improving student achievement.
Vista del Sur was one of only four schools in Arizona to join this esteemed community. They were nominated as an Exemplary High Performing School, receiving this distinction for the performance of all students on the AZMERIT assessment in both math and English language arts in addition to other state performance targets.
Kristi Pashley, the school’s principal at the time of nomination, attributed Vista’s success to the integration of technology into the daily instruction and specific math instructional strategies.
“Vista’s extensive technology, from a 1:1 student to device ratio to classroom SMART boards, allows teachers to assess their students in real time, giving our teachers the opportunity to modify instruction and student groupings immediately.”
The school has also seen great success with the implementation of the Mental Math strategy. “Mental Math is a non-negotiable,” Pashley said of the strategy in which students must mentally solve a math problem, explain the solution to their classmates, and share alternative ways of solving the same problem. “It has improved our students ability to problem solve, become independent thinkers, and articulate their thinking across all content areas.”
Vista del Sur will be recognized at award ceremony next month in Washington, D.C. Here they will receive the coveted National Blue Ribbon flag that will fly at their school as a reminder of their exemplary teaching and learning. “All of us at Vista are honored to serve as an example of quality instruction and learning for schools across the nation,” said Vista’s current principal Jessica Epacs. “This honor affirms the dedication of our students, staff, and parents in making Vista a community of excellence.”
Vista is part of the Laveen Elementary School District. As an accelerated school, students work a grade level ahead in math and English language arts. It is a school of choice and, as such, does not have attendance boundaries.