Buchanan Elementary School is one of only six schools in Tennessee to be named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
"It is a tremendous honor to win an award of such magnitude and prestige," principal Michael Hickman said. "The Blue Ribbon Award confirms the hardwork, love and dedication that the Buchanan faculty, parents and community give to their children each day. This award means so much to us as it validates our focus on educating every student, past and present, who has been part of our school and community."
Buchanan Elementary School serves nearly 500 students in grades K-5 as part of the Rutherford County Schools district.
Fostering a culture of collaboration and offering continual opportunities for professional development are essential factors in the school's success, Hickman said. Major decisions at the school are made by a leadership team and a committee is used to assess needs regarding curriculum, professional development, student interventions and more.
"Gap Closing" and "High Achievement"
"The Blue Ribbon Award is divided into Gap Closing and High Achievement Schools," Hickman said. "There were 335 schools selected for the Blue Ribbon. Of those schools only 32 were selected for gap closing and we were one of them. Out of the 32 of those only 24 had 40% or more economically disadvantaged students and we were also one of them."
Strong parent and community involvement are also key. The school has deep roots in the mostly rural community with multiple family generations having attended the school. The school has a vibrant and active PTO, which helps support teachers and students. Even though the school only serves elementary grades, it offers multiple extracurricular activities and family nights to keep parents engaged.
In addition, the school makes the use of technology in the classroom a priority. It started with very little technology only a few years ago but now each classroom is equipped with an Elmo, projector and five computers. The school also boasts two computer labs and a mobile computer lab. The school makes heavy use of the Response to Instruction and Intervention program to ensure every student in the building is receiving the academic support needed to fulfill their potential.
Buchanan is the third Rutherford County school to earn the Blue Ribbon designation in the past decade. McFadden School of Excellence received the award in 2013 and Holloway High School earned the award in 2006.
Blue Ribbon Schools
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors elementary, middle, and high schools where students either show tremendous achievement or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap between historically underserved groups of students and their peers.
The following public schools were named National Blue Ribbon Schools for academic achievement:
- Middle College High School, Shelby County Schools
- Clovercroft Elementary School, Williamson County Schools
- Ravenwood High School, Williamson County Schools
The following public schools were named National Blue Ribbon Schools for closing gaps between groups of students:
- Falling Water Elementary School, Hamilton County Schools
- Buchanan Elementary School, Rutherford County Schools
- Trousdale County High School, Trousdale County Schools