boy reads from podium“We have spirit, yes we do! We have spirit, how about you?!”

These are just a few words of celebration that echoed through the hallways and classrooms of Kittredge Magnet School on Friday, December 21, 2018.

They came from every student, staff member and administrator, and rang with an exceptional amount of truth for good reason: Kittredge was officially celebrating being named a National Blue Ribbon School—its third Blue Ribbon distinction in school history.

It’s secret? School spirit.

The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) school is one of approximately 300 out of more than 8,500 nationwide to be named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. Kittredge joins Austin Elementary in being recognized for academic excellence as well as closing achievement gaps in economic and social subgroups by the United States Department of Education.

Every year, schools who rank in the top 15 percent in their respective states are chosen by a Blue Ribbon committee. Kittredge was chosen not just in 2018, but also in 2004 and 2012.

“At Kittredge, we strive to maintain high standards of performance through collaborative planning, rigorous instruction, and high-quality assessment. Students participate in an enriched curriculum along with courses in fine arts, music, and German,” said Dr. Laura Neely, principal, upon receiving National Blue Ribbon distinction in October. “These outcomes and opportunities are possible because of our constant focus on the Kittredge Magnet Mission: ‘To nurture and empower our diverse population of students to become independent thinkers by fostering student growth through an innovative and rigorous instructional approach.’ We are honored to be a three-time recipient of this prestigious award.”

Neely joined Region 1 Superintendent Sherry Johnson as well as students and staff in a schoolwide celebration that ended with every student being served Blue Bell Ice Cream.

“KMS Cougars—let me hear you roar!” shouted Kittredge assistant principal Andrea King to kick things off, receiving nothing but jubilant shouts in return. “You have a lot to roar about today. This morning, we are here to celebrate your academic excellence, your steadfast and unbeatable attitude, and the awesome adults you have here to support you in this building each and every day. Your teachers set the bar high, but you rise to the occasion every time.”

regional superintendent and principal smile with plaqueKing credited Kittredge students for not just being smart and high achieving, but also kind, caring, and open to one another.

“This honor that you’ve received today is all about how you learn, how you process and how you utilize to show how much comprehension you’ve gained,” said Sherry Johnson. “According to Webster, a ‘blue ribbon’ is ‘a badge made of blue ribbon given as a first-place prize in a competition,’ ‘of the highest quality,’ or ‘specifically selected.’ It describes who you are, students. Students—thank you for rising to the level of rigor every day. Teachers—thank you for preparing engaging lessons. Leadership—thank you for distinguished leadership. Parents—thank you for your undying support. We are proving there are no limits to learning in DeKalb County School District!”

A group of exemplary sixth grade students also read Kittredge’s official congratulatory letter from United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, while others read a congratulatory letter from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and DCSD CEO/Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green.