Ladera del Norte Elementary was named a National Blue Ribbon School on Thursday, September 26, 2019 by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Ladera was one of 362 schools nation-wide honored with a Blue Ribbon School distinction and the only school from New Mexico.
“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. “As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gas among students. Ladera was one of three schools in New Mexico nominated to be a Blue Ribbon School in March by the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Secretary of Education. Ladera was nominated as an Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing School, or a school that is among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.
“To be nominated at the state level and also recognized nationwide as a Blue Ribbon School is a testament to the entire staff at Ladera del Norte Elementary and their tireless efforts and devotion they give to our students every day,” Ladera Principal Phyllis Maestas said. “This is one of the proudest moments in my 28-year career and should be for all our staff, students and parents. Together Everyone Achieves More is our motto and this is truly a TEAM effort.”
The accomplishment was celebrated across the Farmington Municipal Schools District with Superintendent Dr. Eugene Schmidt saying, “This accomplishment is the epitome of Rising to Excellence in our most important pursuit – student achievement. Congratulations to the Ladera students and staff.”
The entire staff and student body of Ladera gathered for the announcement and celebrated with confetti, pompons, singing and dancing. Principal Maestas recognized others and the ceremony including district staff Dr. Schmidt, Deputy Superintendent Phil Valdez, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Nicole Lambson, Director of School Improvement Nathan Pierantoni, Director of School Improvement, Data and Assessment as well as former Ladera Assistant Principal and current McKinley Principal Carla Pfeffer, former Ladera teacher and current McKinley Assistant Principal Becky Ferris, former Ladera employee Debra Mayeux, whom Maestas recognized for her help in the extensive application process and Ladera Vice Principal Terrill Henegar. Prinicpal Maestas thanked the Ladera teachers, staff and students for their hard work and encouraged them to continue reaching for higher achievement.