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Brandon, Bridgewater-Emery, Castlewood schools among tops in nation
Feds pick three South Dakota schools in latest Blue Ribbon recognitions
Three South Dakota schools have been identified as top performers nationally by the U.S. Department of Education.
Bridgewater-Emery Elementary, Fred Assam Elementary in Brandon, and Castlewood High School are among this year’s crop of National Blue Ribbon Schools, which recognize schools for excellence in overall academic performance or for progress in closing achievement gaps among diverse groups of students.
“Congratulations to South Dakota’s newest Blue Ribbon schools, their staff, students, and communities,” South Dakota Education Secretary Joseph Graves said in a news release Tuesday. “They demonstrate what can be achieved when resourceful educators and engaged students put their values into action.”
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South Dakota’s three Blue Ribbon schools were specifically highlighted for their high student scores in English and mathematics. According to the state education office, each school stood out for unique approaches to education.
Bridgewater-Emery Elementary, for example, focuses on meaningful community engagement by giving students opportunities to visit senior centers, nearby Hutterite colonies, local businesses, and other points of interest. Those experiences are combined with in-class instruction.
At Fred Assam Elementary, a “Walk to Read” program has improved literacy for students at every grade level through individualized student assessments that inform educators about how best to instruct students. The school’s administration also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and planning time for teachers at the school, according to the DOE.
And in Castlewood, high schoolers are encouraged to take “rigorous classes” that match their ability levels.