WARREN, NJ - Woodland School principal Jeffrey Heaney, teacher Adam Yenish and superintendent Matthew Mingle traveled to Washington, D.C. on Nov. 6-7, joining more than 300 public and private schools from across the United States to be recognized as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools. 

“It was an incredible honor to be able to represent Woodland School, the Warren Township Schools and the entire Warren Township community in Washington, D.C.,” states Mingle.  

Woodland School is one of only five public elementary schools in Somerset County to receive the prestigious recognition in the 35-year history of the National Blue Ribbon Schools program.  U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who announced the 2017 blue ribbon award winners in September, was on hand to welcome school representatives to Washington.

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“Thank you for your extraordinary commitment to meeting the unique needs of students every day,” said Devos in addressing the gathering at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. 

 “It is hard to express the enormous pride and happiness that I felt for current and former Woodland students, staff and families as I attended the National Blue Ribbon ceremony in our nation's capital,” says principal Heaney.  “It is with great honor that I accepted the special plaque on behalf of all of the remarkable people that have made Woodland such a special place for students to learn and grow.”         

Created in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes outstanding public and non-public school achievement for overall academic excellence and/or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.  

To be nominated, a school has to demonstrate high or strongly improving student scores on state or national normed assessments in the last year tested, as well as met annual measurable objectives.  

Woodland School received the Blue Ribbon Schools award in the category of “exemplary high performing schools.”  

“Having the opportunity to represent the past and present staff, students, and parents of Woodland School in accepting the 2017 National Blue Ribbon Award in Washington, DC was an honor and highlight of my 17+ year career of teaching in Warren Township,” says Yenish who teaches fifth grade.  

Woodland School will celebrate its designation as a National Blue Ribbon School on November 30 with current and former staff, administrators, students, parents, and local officials.  A schoolwide celebration of the district as a whole is planned for next spring.  

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Join the Celebration: Warren’s Woodland School is a 2017 National Blue Ribbon Award Winner




Photo 1 - National Blue Ribbon Program director Aba Kumi holds Woodland School mascot Woody Woodchuck, as (from left) teacher Adam Yenish, principal Jeffrey Heaney and superintendent Matthew Mingle join her on stage to accept the award on behalf of Woodland School as a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School.  Photo 2 -  U.S. Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ 7th District) meets with Woodland representatives in his Capitol Hill office to congratulate the school for its designation as a 2017 Blue Ribbon School.  From left:  Yenish, Heaney, Lance and Mingle.