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Drachman Montessori Magnet named 2015 National Blue Ribbon School

U.S. Department of Education designation honors schools for high achievement.

The U.S. Department of Education named Drachman Montessori Magnet Elementary School a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Drachman is the only school in Tucson to earn the designation this year, and only four schools in the state and 335 across the nation were recognized.

In his announcement, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, said Blue Ribbon schools are "leading their schools to the highest levels of achievement or making outstanding progress in closing the achievement gap."

Secretary Duncan asked the Blue Ribbon schools to inspire other schools by sharing their ideas and best practices. "Your schools are amazing examples for your communities, your states and the entire nation." He also issued a challenge: "Please never be content. Always strive to do more and to do better on behalf of your students. In doing so, you will inspire other schools to transform their teaching and learning and strive for excellence." For more information, watch the video announcement on the National Blue Ribbon website.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program was created in 1982 to honor schools that have achieved high levels of performance or have made significant improvements in closing the achievement gap in schools where at least 40 percent of the student population is classified as disadvantaged.

Dr. Jesús Celaya, principal at Drachman, credited the collaborative nature of the community for the school's success. "The award is a result of our staff, parents, community and children working together for years toward a shared goal that we established as a family of lifelong learners," he said. "Our mission for the last ten years has been to be 'responsible and peaceful,' so we humbly accept the award and we look forward to what our children and overall learning community will do to make positive and peaceful contributions to the world throughout the future."

Dr. H.T. Sánchez, superintendent of Tucson Unified School District, praised the school's efforts. "Drachman has done an amazing job in elevating its standards of excellence by achieving 'A' status and now National Blue Ribbon Status," he said. "We're proud of them, their students and their school community."

The 2015 National Blue Ribbon schools will be honored at a recognition ceremony in November in Washington, D.C. Each school will receive an award plaque and a flag as symbols of their accomplishments. The National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.