Coronado fifth-graders

Fifth-graders at Coronado Elementary hold up pictures of butterflies to symbolize the transformation they’ve experienced since kindergarten. From left, they are: Eduardo Herrera, Renata Becerril, Kayla Barton, Nicolette Fajardo, Christopher Correa, Izabella Palomares, Nancy Buelna, Ivan Carrillo and Sabina Romero.

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado Elementary School in Nogales was named one of the four recipients in Arizona of the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Exemplary High Performing Schools.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the announcement on Tuesday, congratulating the 286 National Blue Ribbon schools nationwide. The four schools from Arizona were Coronado, Chandler Traditional Academy (Liberty Campus), Sabino High School in Tucson, and Xavier College Preparatory Roman Catholic High School in Phoenix.

“This is a proud day for these four schools,” State Superintendent John Huppenthal said in a news release. “This award recognizes a commitment to excellence in education – and more importantly, a commitment to our students. I want to thank the principals, teachers and staff whose hard work helped to earn their schools such a highly coveted national award.”

Coronado Principal Annette Barber and lead teacher Sandra Licet Jimenez, along with NUSD School Improvement Director Angel Canto, worked for months on the application process, NUSD said.

“This is not an award that is handed out like red apples. In the process of this award, Coronado was named as an exemplary school and this is a testament to the hard work from the staff, the leadership, and the parents of that school,” said Superintendent Steve Zimmerman. “It is moments like this that make NUSD so proud.”

Duncan added his praise to the award winners, saying in a news release: “Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers.

“National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education," he said.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools awards two categories: those schools that have high achievement and those that have shown great improvement. Coronado was awarded its status from the high achievement category. The following passage was included in the application:

“Coronado’s parents, students, and staff share a vision of success for all students. Schools today face many challenges associated with meeting increasingly high levels of state and federal accountability, particularly when these higher standards include meeting not only objectives relating to the passage of state tests but academic growth associated with these tests.

“For schools like Coronado, these challenges are compounded when the student population includes a significant percentage of low socio-economic students and a high number of English language learners. Unlike other schools, however, the principal at Coronado leads staff, students, and parents to overcome these challenges by building a culture of high expectations, effective instructional leadership, and strong parental involvement.”

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