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Altamont named a Blue Ribbon School

Altamont Elementary received the prestigious designation as a Blue Ribbon School in 2007. 

On Monday, October 29, 2007, a representative from the United States Department of Education was on hand at Altamont Elementary School to present students and staff with their Blue Ribbon School award and to honor them as a national school of excellence.

Earlier in the month, Altamont Elementary was named a 2007 honoree of the No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The school is one of only 16 schools from throughout New York State—and one of 287 schools from across the country—to be recognized with this prestigious designation.

The celebration began at 1 p.m. as part of a school-wide assembly and featured congratulations from Superintendent Gregory Aidala; School Board members Catherine Barber, Colleen O'Connell, and Gloria Towle-Hilt; Altamont Mayor James Gaughan; Albany County Legislator and Altamont Trustee William Aylward; and Altamont PTA president Bridget Brown.

Ms. Orysia Dmytrenko from the U.S. Dept. of Education then presented the official Blue Ribbon Award to Principal Brabant.

“Every staff member, parent, and student had a role in achieving this award,” said Brabant. “Altamont Elementary School is a Blue Ribbon School in a blue ribbon district and community. This honor demonstrates what can happen when hard-working students, a professional staff, and supportive parent-community work together to improve the academic future for young people.”

The United State Department of Education established this award to honor public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. Schools are selected based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; and 2) Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or in the case of private schools in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests.

Altamont Elementary School Principal Peter Brabant was nominated to apply for this honor last fall by the New York State Department of Education based on assessment scores, enrollment data, and student and teacher attendance rates from the school year prior to the date of application (2005-06).

Under the Federal No Child Left Behind legislation, schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, in reading and language arts and mathematics. Each state—not the federal government—sets its own academic standards and benchmark goals.

New York State assesses students in grades 3-8 in the areas of mathematics and language arts. This is the second year that New York State has tested all students in grades 3-5. Grade 4 students have always been assessed in the areas of language arts, mathematics, and science. Students in grade 5 are assessed in the area of social studies.

At the elementary level, performance is shown using four levels (Level 1, indicates not meeting learning standards, Level 2 indicates partially meeting learning standards, Level 3 indicates meeting learning standards, Level 4 indicates advanced proficiency). Students scoring at Level 3 and 4 meet or exceed the state standard for proficiency in that content area.

During the 2005-06 school year in the area of language arts, 81% of the students in grades 3-5 at Altamont Elementary School scored at a proficiency level of 3 or 4, indicating meeting or exceeding the state standards for Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.

In addition, during the 2005-06 school year in the area of mathematics, 93% of the students in grades 3-5 at AES scored at a proficiency level of 3 or 4, indicating meeting or exceeding the state standards for the content area of mathematics.

Over the past three years, 96% of the students in grade 4 met or exceeded the state standards for the science performance assessment. Throughout that same time period, the test results for grade 5 students in the area of social studies shows an average of 98% of the students met or exceeded the state standards.

By grade 5, over 90% of the students at Altamont Elementary School scored at or above the state standard on all assessments of the four core areas.

“This is a tremendous honor for Altamont Elementary School and for the Guilderland Central School District,” said Superintendent of Schools Gregory Aidala. “We are very proud of our students and staff, as well as very appreciative of the support that Altamont families provide for their neighborhood school. Principal Brabant and the entire Altamont School community are to be commended for their efforts,” he added.

Principal Brabant, along with fifth grade teacher Yvette Terplak, traveled to Washington, D.C. in November to accept the official award from the State Department.

For more information on the No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon Schools Program, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs