Hill Classical Earns National Blue Ribbon

Hill Classical Middle School, which only six years ago was threatened with state takeover if it didn’t improve student achievement, has won the highly coveted National Blue Ribbon Award. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings named Hill among 250 schools selected as 2006 No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon Schools. The schools were honored for high student achievement, and for closing achievement gaps among various groups of students. "These schools show what wonderful accomplishments can be made when we focus on the bottom line in education – student achievement," Spellings said. "All of these schools have students from all subgroups who've made impressive test gains or who scored in the top tier on state tests. They are outstanding examples of how all students can achieve to higher standards." For Hill, the award represents the culmination of a significant turnaround in student achievement. "We didn't get here in one year," said Principal Peter Davis. "It took seven years to get here, with a lot of great teachers, parents and students. It's been a huge, team effort over a long period." In recent years, Hill has emphasized writing school-wide and has implemented Malcolm Baldrige problem-solving strategies that are used by some of the nation’s most successful businesses. The school also implemented a Safe and Civil Schools model that has minimized tardies and created a calm atmosphere. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap or whose students achieve at very high levels. The schools are selected based on one of two criteria: • Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; • Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or in the case of private schools in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally normed tests. Hill Classical Middle School is the eighth school in the Long Beach Unified School District to win this prestigious national award. Prior winners include: Lowell, Prisk and Twain elementary schools; Cubberley K-8 School; Hughes and Rogers middle schools; and the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS). The latest Blue Ribbon School winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 9-10.