Mendham Township Elementary School Named a National Blue Ribbon School

By Steve Sears

Mendham Township Elementary School was recently named a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education.

The school was one of nine in New Jersey to achieve the honor.

“We were officially notified in September that we received the National Blue Ribbon Award,” proudly states Principal Julianne Kotcho. “This is the first time the school has received this award. Our middle school received this award in 2014. We are currently the only school district in New Jersey that has received the award in all district schools.”

A school-wide celebration with the Home School Association is being planned. “And the school watched the National Blue Ribbon Ceremony via live stream on November 15,” adds Kotcho. “It is all very exciting and we are looking forward to celebrating.”

The following, gleaned from the National Blue Ribbon School website describes its history in brief:

Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell originated the Blue Ribbon Schools program in 1982.

The National Blue Ribbon School Program was the brainchild of the second Secretary of Education, Terrel H. Bell, named by President Reagan. Best known for commissioning the study of American education that resulted in A Nation at Risk, Bell created the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in 1982 to bring public attention to the best schools in the United States and to facilitate communication and sharing of best practices within and among schools. At the same time, Bell also originated the Distinguished Principal Award to recognize the critical role school leaders play in effective schools. This award has been renamed the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.

The program is supported through ongoing collaboration with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Association for Middle Level Education, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Kotcho, herself in education for 27 years, 19 as a school administrator, and Principal of the 399-student Mendham Township Elementary School since 2013, added the following via an official email sent out to her school community. “This award is a tremendous honor and recognizes the amazing achievements of our students, staff, and families at MTES. As principal of MTES, I am so proud of the continued focus on our students’ academic success and their development as happy, healthy young people. We are grateful for your support and involvement in our school.”

Mendham Township Elementary School was recognized in the category of “Exemplary High Performing Schools,” when a school is among the state’s highest performing as measured by New Jersey assessments or nationally normed tests. “Exemplary High Performing” schools also have both their state’s highest high school graduation rates and highest achieving students in English and Mathematics.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Salvatore Constantino, shared in a press release, “The Blue Ribbon award is an outstanding accomplishment and demonstrates our commitment to being a wonderful place to learn and grow.  At Mendham Township Elementary School, we are lucky to have an amazing faculty and staff, dedicated administration, talented students, and supportive, engaged parents. This honor demonstrates that MTES is not only an outstanding place to learn, it is also a supportive, caring environment where students thrive.”  


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