Jamesburg NJ Wins First Blue Ribbon School Recognition
JAMESBURG — For the first time, one of two schools in the district has been named Blue Ribbon School.
John F. Kennedy Elementary School is one of nine schools in the Garden State cited as an “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing School” for 2021.
Schools in this category have made significant progress in closing subgroup achievement gaps in English, language arts and math over the past three to five years, JFK Principal Kristy DeFazio said.
The designation was surprising and empowering, said Diana Sanger, special education resource teacher and president of the Jamesburg Education Association.
“This award is a direct result of people who dedicate their careers to providing nothing less than the best educational experience for everyone,” Sanger said. “My colleagues and I at JFK Elementary School are proud of the efforts and rich and diverse cultures of our students.
“It is through the vision of our school that these achievements are possible. And it is through the compassion and commitment of the members of the Jamesburg Education Association that JFK has been thrust into the national spotlight.”
The district’s demographics include a population of 54% Hispanic learners, along with students who fall into populations of 34% white, 7% black, 3% Asian, and 2% from two or more races.
The Front Street School houses approximately 465 students.
“Because we are a very small school,” Sanger said. “And for us, closing the gap is huge. Sometimes schools struggle in different areas. For us, we have a very high Hispanic population. So we have a lot of English students and we’ve bridged This means that we are now on par with other schools for performance, making us one of nine schools in New Jersey to earn blue ribbon and only of nine in New Jersey to close the gap. ‘difference.
“Our students are so proud,” Sanger continued. “It takes a long time to complete the process of awarding a blue ribbon.”
To celebrate, the district held a ceremony on March 22 and a parade on April 1. Each student received their own blue ribbon and made a heart representing what they love in their small town. Hearts are now displayed on school walls.
“They are beautiful,” Sanger said.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
For 2021, Walter M. Schirra Elementary School in Old Bridge received the Blue Ribbon designation, in the category of “Exemplary High-Performing Schools”.
A total of 325 schools were honored across the country. Other recognized Garden State schools were North End School in Cedar Grove, Hillside Elementary School in Closter, Weymouth Township Elementary School in Dorothy, Lucy N. Holman Elementary School in Jackson, Torey J. Sabatini Elementary School in Madison, and Wemrock Brook School in Manapalan .
Cheryl Makin is an award-winning reporting and education reporter for MyCentralJersey.com, part of the USA Today Network. Contact: Cmakin@gannettnj.com or @CherylMakin.