Skip To Main Content

Hamilton School Wins Prestigious Blue Ribbon Award

Blue Ribbon Logo

For Immediate Release
September 16, 2009
Contact: Binti Harvey
(626) 396-3606

Prestigious Honor Recognizes Excellence in Education

Pasadena, CA ­ Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Superintendent Edwin Diaz today announced that Alexander Hamilton Elementary has been designated a national Blue Ribbon School. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan conferred the prestigious honor upon only 314 public and private schools nationwide, and 25 public schools in California. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private schools that are academically superior or have shown dramatic improvement in student achievement, especially among disadvantaged students.

"The achievement of The National Blue Ribbon Award is attributed to highly qualified teachers, hard-working students and dedicated families," said Sarah Rudchenko, the former Principal of Hamilton Elementary School, now serving as principal of Wilson Middle School. "Hamilton School exemplifies what is possible when an entire school community works together toward a common goal- success for all students."

The California Department of Education (CDE) identified the state's pool of 35 nominees for the prestigious Blue Ribbon Schools Program (BRSP) after an extensive analysis of growth over the previous five years. Hamilton Elementary has increased its Academic Performance Index (API) by more than 100 points since 2002-03 to 868 this year.

Hamilton has also met the federal Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks for student proficiency in English Language Arts and Mathematics. In 2002-03, 26.5 percent of students scored proficient or above in English Language Arts, compared to 65.5 percent last year. In math, 79.7 percent of Hamilton students scored proficient or above in 2008, compared to 41.1 percent in 2002-03. Hamilton was selected for the California pool of nominees because it has demonstrated dramatic improvement and a majority of its students are socio-economically disadvantaged.

"I applaud the Hamilton faculty for their ongoing commitment to high-quality instruction, which results in students not only meeting, but exceeding the standards for academic improvement and achievement year after year," said PUSD Superintendent Edwin Diaz. "I am confident that under the leadership of the new principal, Frances Weissenberger, Hamilton will continue the exceptional teaching and learning taking place every day, and continue to model excellence for
PUSD, California, and the nation."

Schools selected for the BRSP fit into three categories: High Achieving, Dramatically Improving, Disadvantaged Schools; Dramatically Improving, Disadvantaged Schools; and High Achieving Schools (regardless of demographics). The California State Board of Education also requires the final nominee schools to meet all 2009 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and Academic Performance Index (API) growth targets, including those for the school overall and for each numerically significant subgroup. Public schools are designated as "disadvantaged" if 40 percent or more the students participate in the National School Lunch Program; have parents who did not earn a high school diploma; receive Migrant Education services; or are classified as English learners.

Hamilton Elementary will be among those honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC in November, where each Blue Ribbon School receives a plaque and flag to signify its Blue Ribbon School status. These schools serve as models for other schools throughout the nation and details of their achievements are shared on the U.S. Department of Education's

# # #