Calder Road Elementary receives historic honors for educational success
As one of League City’s most well known elementary schools, Calder Road Elementary is no stranger to recognition. This year has witnessed the local elementary school gain two remarkable honors.
Calder Road Elementary was recently named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education, making it the first school in Dickinson ISD to receive such an honor.
Calder Road was one of only 26 schools in Texas (and 325 schools across the United States) selected for this year’s National Blue Ribbon School honor. The National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools that have high student achievement. The award also highlights schools’ exemplary progress in closing achievement gaps among student subpopulations. Since the program's founding, 9,000 schools across the nation have received this honor.
Calder Road in particular is being recognized as an Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing School for being among the state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.
“Calder Road Elementary is an extraordinary school that has spent focused time developing and using exemplary systems for planning, monitoring, and accelerating instruction, tracking student progress and growth, and meeting social and emotional needs of students. Because of their hard work and commitment, Calder Road Elementary is among the state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps,” said Dickinson ISD Superintendent Carla Voelkel. “We are extremely proud of Calder Road Elementary for being nominated by Governor Abbott for this prestigious award and being selected by the USDE as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School.”
Texas public schools are considered for the nomination based on student performance on the first administration of the previous year’s STAAR assessments. This would refer to the Spring 2019 STAAR assessment since the 2020 administration was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each school must have an economically disadvantaged population of 25 percent or more, which Calder Road surpasses with 57 percent of the student population identified as economically disadvantaged.
“Being named a National Blue Ribbon School is a validation of everything that happens on this campus – every day and every minute,” said Principal Sophia Acevedo. “The success of Calder Road is 100 percent, driven by the staff. They make magic happen every day and that impacts our culture. Calder Road’s staff is a blue ribbon staff that works hard every day for kids. They are empowered to make decisions and changes as needed. They are innovative, and they are what makes Calder Road successful.”
Continuing Calder Road’s streak of recognition, the United States Department of Education named Sophia a 2021 recipient of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.
This special award is named in memory of former United States Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, and it is presented to only eight principals across the United States. The award recognizes outstanding school leaders and the vital role they play in guiding students and schools to excellence. The principals receiving this award are committed to fostering successful teaching and learning at their schools and do “whatever it takes” to help their students meet high standards.
Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency announced in February that Calder Road Elementary was one of the Texas nominees. Since then, the school staff worked to complete a rigorous United States Department of Education application process in hopes of being selected for the national honor.
In making the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip in September, United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said this year’s honorees demonstrate what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish.
“I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional and mental health needs,” Cardona said. “In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”
The award ceremonies for Calder Road and Sophia Acevedo will be November 4 and 5 in Washington D.C.