Mt. Sinai Middle School was one of only 269 schools to achieve the honor of National Blue Ribbon School this year. The award was bestowed on schools around the United States based on “overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels,” according to a statement released by the district.
In December 2011 the school was alerted that it could apply for the honor through the U.S. Department of Education based on New York State test results in English Language Arts and Math. An extensive application process followed including a relook at this year’s results in the spring.
"We were officially awarded it on Friday," said Mt. Sinai Middle School principal Peter Pramataris in a phone interview on Monday.
Mt. Sinai Middle School is one of 20 schools in the state and one of only four on Long Island to receive the distinction. Other Long Island schools included Cantiague Elementary School in Jericho, South Woods Middle School in Syosset, and East Islip’s Timber Point Elementary School.
A full list can be found here.
The school was given the distinction in the performance category of "Exemplary High Performing."
The application process lasted from January until May after test results came in showing that the school’s scores continued to grow.
“We can’t be a one hit wonder,” Pramataris said.
In November the U.S. Education Department will honor the 219 public and 50 private schools that received the award during a ceremony in Washington D.C.
"Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement announcing the honors. "Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future."
Mt. Sinai Middle School is made up of about 800 students in Grades 5 through 8.
Pramataris – who is a resident of Mt. Sinai with children in the school district – said that the award reflects the hard work of everyone involved including administrators, teachers, parents and the students themselves.
"The district has a long standing tradition of commitment to excellence," he said. "I’m very happy for the community and very happy we got this for the community."
Pramataris said he plans to use this honor as a springboard to take on educational challenges.
"We’re going to go from great to extraordinary," he said.