Tyrone Area High School wins coveted 2015 ‘Blue Ribbon School Award’

Tyrone becomes the first high school in Blair County and only the third high school in all of Central Pennsylvania to win this coveted national award.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today recognized Tyrone Area High School as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2015 based on its exemplary progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The National Blue Ribbon Award is the highest honor given to schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

Tyrone is one of only 335 schools nationwide to receive the award this year.  Tyrone is also the first high school in Blair County to win, and only the third high school in all of central Pennsylvania to be honored in the award’s 33 year history.  The other two high schools in the region to be designated Blue Ribbon Schools were State College Area High School in 1993 and Portage Area High School in 2014.

The Blue Ribbon Award is such an honor for our school. This demonstrates that our district continues to put students and their instruction first.”

— Principal Tom Yoder

We are very honored to be receiving such a prestigious award,” said Tyrone Superintendent Cathy Harlow, “We are so proud of our hard working students, dedicated staff, and supportive community.  This is a true testament that Tyrone is developing the ‘whole child’.”

“The Blue Ribbon Award is such an honor for our school,” said Tyrone high school Principal Tom Yoder, “Only 335 schools in the United States won this award out of tens of thousands of schools. This demonstrates that our district continues to put students and their instruction first.”

“[Receiving an award like this is] one of those things that is so rare that you never really expect it. Face it, you don’t go into teaching to win awards and take home prizes. You do it to make a difference in a kid’s life, but this certainly makes us all feel good,” said veteran Tyrone teacher and English Department Chair Steve Everhart.

“This honor certainly negates the rumors that Tyrone Area School District is sub-par to other districts in the area,” said Tyrone Director of Curriculum Leslie Estep, “On a daily basis, our parents, faculty, staff, and administration work very hard to provide an environment that, while caring, expects students to strive to do their best.  Our students are second to none.”

The Department will honor Tyrone and other Blue Ribbon schools at a recognition ceremony with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Washington, D.C. on November 9-10.

The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. The award flag gracing a school’s building is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

All Blue Ribbon schools are recognized in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates.  The two types of Blue Ribbon Awards are as follows:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are at high levels.

Tyrone High School has received the Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools Award.

In its 33-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on approximately 8,000 schools.  All public and private elementary, middle and high schools, in all 50 states, all US territories, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education are eligible.

You don’t go into teaching to win awards and take home prizes. You do it to make a difference in a kid’s life, but this certainly makes us all feel good”

— English teacher Steve Everhart

In addition to its Blue Ribbon status, Tyrone Area High School has received several other academic awards in recent years.  Two years ago the Pittsburgh Business Times named Tyrone as the 6th highest “Overachieving” school district in a state of 500 districts.  Four times since 2008, U.S. News named Tyrone High School a bronze medal winner in its annual “America’s Best High Schools” report.

The school is planning a public celebration of the award for the next home football game.  More information will be available in the Eagle Eye as plans are finalized.