PHOENIX -- Hundreds of Valley students filled their school cafeteria Tuesday to hoot and holler over their success. It has nothing to do with a sports win. Instead, they celebrated their high academic achievement.
Copper Canyon Elementary School in North Phoenix is one of only three in Arizona chosen to receive the National Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education.
According to the agency’s website, the program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools “where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of academic achievement.”
Challenger Basic School in Gilbert and Manzanita Elementary School in Tucson also received the Blue Ribbon Award.
Copper Canyon staff members tout the partnership between teachers and parents as a top reason for the school’s success. The school’s application for the Blue Ribbon Award spells out the students' consistently high AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) scores for more than five years in a row.
But administrators say they work to develop children in all areas, not just academics. They also emphasize artistic, physical and social skills.
"I think what makes it such an amazing school is talented leadership, the staff, the amazing teachers," says Copper Canyon parent Kathy Wise. "We're such a close-knit community, where parental involvement is instrumental, and the focus is on the kids."
All Copper Canyon students wrote essays about what their school means to them. Two from each grade level, kindergarten through sixth grade, were chosen to read their paper at the school-wide assembly.