From Mr. Heaney: We are a 2017 Blue Ribbon School!
For those of you who may have missed last night's Back to School Night opening, I am sharing my speech (below) in which I announced the amazing news that Woodland is a 2017 Blue Ribbon School! This is such a special award for our school and our community. I will be meeting shortly with the PTO and staff to begin to plan for a celebration. (date to be determined)
Good evening Woodland Families,
On Thursday, September 28th, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, announced that Woodland School has been designated an Exemplary High Performing School for 2017. Woodland School is one of 342 schools in the nation to receive Blue Ribbon status. It is important to note that there are over 100,000 public schools alone in the United States. It is also important to note that Woodland School is one of only five public elementary schools in Somerset County to receive this prestigious recognition in the program’s 35-year history.
This prestigious award is the result of years of remarkable educators doing whatever it takes to ensure that their students are successful. Standing behind me is truly a tremendously talented group of educators. Ladies and gentlemen, not only are these the best educators that you will ever find but more importantly they are a special group of human beings. Their commitment to excellence, desire to grow professionally, and positive energy is always felt by the students and their families. While we have been recognized as a school with exemplary high performance, these educators know that good academic performance begins with the human connection. While engaging lessons and high performance on standardized assessments are important at Woodland, these teachers are so much more than numbers, so much more than books and so much more than tests and quizzes. I am proud to work alongside a group of educators who know that everything that is measured does not always count and everything that counts cannot be measured. What makes teaching an amazing job is the impact that you can have on the life of another person. These teachers get that.
From the moment I arrived at Woodland School one word resonated…family. It truly is a building that looks after one another and this is the reason we have had success. Our Blue Ribbon Award would not be possible if not for the hard work of every member of the Woodland family. From our amazing custodians, Mr. Joe, Mr. Paul and Mr. J, to our amazing office staff Mrs. Frank and Mrs. Francione, to our dedicated paraprofessionals…. each person does their part……and each one of us lives by the motto…whatever it takes to help the students.
I want to take the time to thank all of you…the wonderful Woodland families. Each day you send us children that are full of life and eager to grow. I have always said that there is no greater partnership than that between home and school. Your consistent support, understanding when things do not always go right and love of Woodland are greatly appreciated. We could not get to this point if it were not for all of you.
The Woodland PTO has also been instrumental in this award. Their dedication and support of our programs, assemblies and events have all contributed to years and years of success. Today, they gave students wristbands that say, “I go to a Blue Ribbon School”. I hope that your child wears that wristband with as much pride as I do.
I am proud, privileged and honored to be the principal of such a wonderful place. The best piece of advice I ever received from my father is “The key to success and happiness is to surround yourself with great people”. There is no doubt that I have done that with the students, staff and parents of Woodland. I accept the Blue Ribbon award on behalf of the former principals, former and current staff, parents and students who have all paved the way for this success.
It truly is a great day to be a Woodland Woodchuck. We will forever be a 2017 Blue Ribbon School!