HFAA - 2015 National Blue Ribbon Award
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The reward of a thing well done is to have done it," but it is an exceptionally sweet reward to be recognized for it. Tuesday morning four hundred of our students, parents, and faculty gathered for a special assembly to celebrate a hard fought and well deserved reward. HFAA has recently received two high honors. We were named by Newsweek as one of the top high schools in the nation for "Beating the Odds" with economically disadvantaged students, but this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan named HFAA a National Blue Ribbon School for 2015!
Each year the Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in every state. Those nominations are then invited to apply based on performance levels over the last five years. Schools are required to be in the top percentile of all schools in the state for reading, English and mathematics testing, as well as maintain high student attendance and graduation rates. HFAA is being recognized as one of only two high schools in the state along with only 64 public and private high schools across the country as a National Blue Ribbon School based on overall academic excellence.
"This honor recognizes your students’ accomplishments and the hard work and dedication that went into their success," Duncan said. "Your journey has taught you collaboration, intentional instruction, and strong relationships in school and with your community. You represent excellence—in vision, in implementation, and in results—and we want to learn as much as we can from you."
I credit the National Blue Ribbon Award to a high quality, dedicated faculty who continually focus on learning instead of teaching, and a visionary founding board who believed a truly transformative education should draw from the full breadth of human experience. Developing students for the challenges of college and beyond begins in every classroom, one student at a time. Our focus on an academically challenging, arts-integrated curriculum engages students, and our teachers work tirelessly to support that engagement and student achievement. This approach works for students regardless of what they choose to study in college.
This award is a symbol of exemplary teaching and learning, and we take it as a challenge to continue reaching for higher levels of achievement by building on the hard work and dedication of teachers, students, parents, and community partners that got us here. We’re proud to be here, but excited for the future to come.