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National Blue Ribbon School

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized Eastover Elementary School as a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Award recognizes schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. Schools are honored with a plaque affirming the hard work of students, educators, families and communities. They are also presented with a special flag to grace the school building. This is a highly recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

“This is an incredible honor for our school,” said Principal Carey Crocker. “The teachers, students, and families have worked hard to earn this distinction.”

Eastover Elementary serves approximately 480 students in grades K-4 and is a suburban public elementary school that practices both Visible Thinking and Sustainability.

Visible Thinking is a framework and philosophy that challenges students to think, work through a productive struggle, reason with evidence, question, and make connections between the real world and the curriculum. As teachers create a culture of thinking in their classrooms they make time for thinking, use language of thinking, and make the classroom environment rich with displays of thinking processes.

Through the Eastover Sustainability initiative students are taught to think about how humans impact the environment, how to preserve and protect natural resources, and how to increase efficiency by reducing waste. Students participate in many “green” practices including harvesting and planting in a student garden, while making connections to math, science and social studies concepts. The Eastover mobile kitchen, obtained through a grant a few years ago, provides opportunities for students to cook in the classroom using ingredients from the garden.

“We are so proud of this accomplishment. This was made possible by the efforts of many people. A former staff member once said it is not work, it is family. It truly is a family atmosphere at Eastover. Everyone works together in collaboration to achieve the highest levels of learning for all students,” said Ms. Crocker. “Our work is far from over, but what we have accomplished together has made a difference. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our families, community and the board of education. Thanks really go to everyone that touches Eastover. We will continue this journey together, with more dedication than ever.”

To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education invites nominations from the top education official in each state, the District of Columbia, the territories, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

“This incredible distinction for Eastover Elementary is right in line with our ‘Ten Guiding Principles’, which encourage curriculum depth, student ownership and control of learning, and meaningful work that connects students to the world in which they live,” said Dr. Rob Glass, Bloomfield Hills Schools Superintendent. “I am so very proud of the tremendous work done by Principal Carey Crocker, her team, and the students and families at Eastover. This is a true testament to the strong, caring relationships at Eastover.”

EASTOVER BLUE RIBBON PRESENTATION

News Coverage

Detroit Free Press

13 Michigan schools among best in U.S.

Contact Lori Higgins: 313-222-6651, lhiggins@freepress.com or @LoriAHiggins

Carey Crocker had to hold on to some big news for nearly two weeks: Eastover Elementary in Bloomfield Hills — where she's the principal — has been named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School.

The school is among 335 nationwide — and 13 in Michigan — to receive the annual honor that's bestowed on the best public and private schools in the U.S.

Crocker learned the news Sept. 17, but she couldn't share it with her staff until the U.S. Department of Education formally announced it today.

"It has been a challenge," said Crocker. "But I wanted it to come as a surprise to them."

Five of the schools are in Oakland County and the others are scattered in Washtenaw, Kent, Ottawa, Calhoun and Midland counties.

Schools were chosen based on overall academic excellence or based on their efforts to close gaps in achievement between groups of students. They will be honored in November in Washington.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a videotaped message to the schools, said the award recognizes "your students' accomplishments and the hard work and dedication that went into their success."

"I'm just proud that the school is going to receive this incredible distinction," said Crocker, who said there's a family atmosphere in the school that's all about making sure all kids are achieving at the highest levels possible.

She said she believes two initiatives helped the school stand out: One is the use of visible thinking, an approach to instruction that has become increasingly popular because it uses dozens of exercises to help get kids thinking more deeply about the subjects they're learning. The other is about sustainability. The school has its own student garden, and students harvest the fruits and vegetables they grow outside and indoors and make healthy food from them.

"We teach kids about recycling, eating well, the environment, composting," Crocker said.

Scott Francis, principal at Pattengill Elementary in the Berkley district, said in a news release that his staff, students and parents are deserving of the recognition.

"At Pattengill, the staff values strong relationships with parents and students to help all our students succeed," Francis said. "We have a great combination of dedicated teachers and strong support staff who put their energy into helping every child, every day."

Observer & Eccentric

Eastover Elementary named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School

jgrossman@hometownlife.com | 586-826-7030 Twitter: @BhmEccentric

Eastover Elementary students and staff can take pride in knowing they attend a National Blue Ribbon School.

The announcement was made Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, making Eastover one of only 335 schools across the country to earn a Blue Ribbon in 2015.

“We’re thrilled,” Eastover Principal Carey Crocker said of the award. “It’s a great achievement and so much of it is due to the hard work of our staff and students, along with our families who are so supportive.”

The Bloomfield Hills school serves approximately 480 students in grades K-4. While this is Crocker’s second year at Eastover, she’s been an educator in Oakland County for the past 21 years. She’s known about the award for almost two weeks, but managed to keep it a secret until today’s announcement.

“I am so very proud of the tremendous work done by Principal Carey Crocker, her team and the students and families at Eastover,” district Superintendent Dr. Rob Glass said. “This is a true testament to the strong, caring relationships at Eastover.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Award recognizes schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. Schools are honored with a plaque and are also presented with a special flag to grace the building.

Crocker said two initiatives at Eastover played a key role in winning the award: visible thinking and sustainability.

“Visible thinking is an initiative that was developed at Harvard and designed to help kids make connections between the real world and what they’re learning in the classroom,” she said.

“We might ask students to come up with two-fifths of a set and we’ll give them Lego bricks to help solve the problem. Plus, they have to have their knowledge of fractions. So ultimately, the kids are using their knowledge to work through a productive struggle to understand a concept.”

In another routine, Crocker said students will be shown a photograph or piece of artwork and compare it to the text they’re reading to make inferences and predictions.

Eastover has its own garden, where students learn about the concept of sustainability. They’re taught about healthy eating choices and how the food goes from farm to table.

In another exercise, Crocker said students are taught to think how humans affect the planet, such as the impact plastic water bottles have on the landfills and surrounding environment.

“So we have a school drinking fountain where kids can refill their water bottles,” she said. “And some of our classes have hydroponics to extend our growing season into the winter.”

Crocker and other staff members will be attending a Blue Ribbon recognition ceremony held Nov. 9-10 in Washington, D.C.

“A former staff member once said it is not work, it is family,” Crocker said. “It truly is a family atmosphere at Eastover. Everyone works together in collaboration to achieve the highest levels of learning for all students. Our work is far from over, but what we have accomplished together has made a difference.”

Oakland Press

4 Oakland County schools ranked among best in the U.S.

In total, 13 Michigan schools were selected as 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools, with 335 schools making the list nationwide.

The schools selected from Oakland County include: Eastover Elementary in Bloomfield Hills; Novi Woods Elementary in Novi; Pattengill Elementary in Berkley; and Pine Knob Elementary in Clarkston.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the selections based on each school’s overall academic excellence as well as their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The schools represent both public and private elementary, middle and high schools, including charter, magnet, parochial and other non-traditional schools in 45 states, the Department of Education reported. Additionally, Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Fort Bragg, N.C., Germany and Korea were also considered.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Carey Crocker, principal of Bloomfield Hills’ Eastover Elementary, said the award is “incredible honor for our school.”

“A former staff member once said ‘It is not work, it is family’. It truly is a family atmosphere at Eastover. Everyone works together in collaboration to achieve the highest levels of learning for all students,” said Crocker.

Click here to see the full 2015 list of National Blue Ribbon Schools.
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