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Garfield Elementary earns Big Honor

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Garfield Elementary students burned off some energy at the playground during recess Monday. The school was named a National Blue Ribbon School last week. (Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff) 2 / 3
Fifth-graders in Karen Andrews’ class studied with their computers Monday. Garfield Elementary was honored nationally as an “Exemplary High Performing” school. (Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff)3 / 3

Students, teachers and staff at Garfield Elementary School can take a bow.

They’ve been recognized as one of the top schools in the nation for academic achievement.

Garfield Elementary, a K-6 elementary school in Alexandria School District 206, was awarded the 2013 National Blue Ribbon School Award by the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan selected Garfield Elementary for the honor based on its “overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement,” according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education.

Annually, the National Blue Ribbon award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories – “Exemplary High Performing” or “Exemplary Improving.”

The award lists Garfield Elementary as an “Exemplary High Performing” school, which means students score very high on state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

Garfield Elementary is one of only seven elementary schools in Minnesota to be recognized in the “Exemplary High Performing” category.

“We are so excited and honored to be selected as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School,” said Lisa Pikop, principal. “Our staff works tirelessly to meet the individual needs of our kids. We have tremendous parent support at home and school and I believe this is a celebration for our whole community.”

“On behalf of the school board, we are very proud of the students and staff at Garfield Elementary,” added Superintendent Rick Lahn. “They have done a tremendous job in helping students excel. This award is a tremendous honor for our school district and one example of how we are fulfilling our vision to be an extraordinary school district that tailors learning for each child, by working together.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar also sent her congratulations to the school.

“Minnesota has a long tradition of providing high quality education that both enriches our children’s lives and puts them on the road to success in today’s global economy,” Klobuchar said in a news release. “The students and staff at Garfield Elementary have worked hard to receive this honor and make our state proud.”

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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