WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s Washington Elementary School, which was designated a “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence” for 2019, was recognized at Tuesday night's school board meeting.

Created in 1982 by the U.S. Department of Education, 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. Washington received the Blue Ribbon Schools award in the category of “Exemplary High Performing School.” Schools in this category are among their state’s highest performing school as measured by state assessments.

Washington was one of 362 schools nationwide chosen to receive the designation this year. Eight other schools in New Jersey were also designated as 2019 Blue Ribbon Schools.

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On Tuesday night, teachers and students performed a synchronized dance celebrating their school. Principal Dr. Andrew Perry then introduced a video with students, parents and educational staff discussing why they feel Washington school is deserving of the award.

“When I get up every morning, I don’t feel like I’m going to work,” said Christine Culver, a second-grade teacher at Washington. “I feel like I’m heading to just another home away from home. I feel like these are my children, my colleagues are my siblings, and we all work together, and that makes it special.”

Students and parents alike praised the teachers at Washington for their support and hard work.

“All of the teachers at the school love everyone, and they all help us,” said fifth-grade student Desra.

“We have a lot of great people here, and the teachers are great,” said Quinn, another fifth-grade student.

“I think a huge part of it are the teachers,” said parent Stephanie Galespie. “I am so impressed by the level of enthusiasm that they bring every day. The passion that these teachers have for the entire learning process, and for children in general, is mind-blowing.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better experience for my boys to be in elementary school,” said parent Lauren Rogers.

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