Poplar Tree was recognized as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School!

September 25, 2020

Blue Ribbon award

Poplar Tree Elementary is incredibly proud of receiving this award, and know that this recognition is not the result of one or two individuals. This award is a result of outstanding teamwork. Our team consists of our fabulous staff who work hard and are committed to the students; our students who show perseverance when things are hard; and our parents who help support the learning at home. We firmly believe you can not achieve success in isolation and by working together great things happen for kids. So whether we are dealing with a Pandemic, technology issues, or a challenging math problem - we are all in this together and when we support each other great things happen!

Poplar Tree Elementary was one of the first schools in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) to participate in the FCPSon program, assigning personal devices to all students and engaging instructional staff in professional development to help them weave technology into their classes. This technology—along with Project-Based Learning—resulted in a shift to a student-centered learning environment along with offering student leadership opportunities, such as the Paw Tech Squad, whose members support teachers and students with technology and even offer professional development. Teachers engage students in a balanced literacy framework for Language Arts, a workshop model for math, and a hands-on approach for science and social studies. Creative and critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills are encouraged by teachers across the curriculum. 

What are National Blue Ribbon Schools?

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today recognized 367 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years. 

The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Education Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).