Special to The Dallas Examiner
Three Dallas ISD schools are among only 26 in Texas nominated for the 2019 National Blue Ribbon School award. Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, Walnut Hill Elementary School and Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School are the district nominees.
The U.S. Department of Education awards the Blue Ribbon recognition to schools where students perform at very high levels or where exemplary progress is being made toward closing achievement gaps.
Lowe Elementary Principal Sandra Barrios screamed in joy when she saw the email about the nomination. The neighborhood elementary school was an Improvement Required campus just four years ago. It serves a diverse student population, with many students coming as refugees or unable to speak English.
“The beauty of our culture and being at Jack Lowe Elementary is that we have this one place here at school that unifies us,” Barrios said. “We believe in and push each other until we achieve at our best potential.”
Meanwhile, Walnut Hill could be the first Dallas ISD neighborhood elementary school to earn two Blue Ribbons as an exemplary high-performing school, Principal Chase McLaurin said. The school earned its first Blue Ribbon in 1999.
“This nomination is a reminder that Walnut Hill Elementary, which is a comprehensive neighborhood school, is one of the premiere schools in the country,” McLaurin said. “Less than 1 percent of schools ever earn a Blue Ribbon. The possibility of this school earning a second Blue Ribbon is a testament to the great work happening here at Walnut Hill.”
This could also be a second ribbon for the law magnet, which earned its first one in 2012.
Sanders Law Magnet Principal Garet Feimster expressed that, as a Dallas ISD alumni, the nomination was especially special to him. He credited the school’s success to the staff meeting the individual needs of students and moving them to where they need to be.
“This shows me what our students are capable of and that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to,” Feimster said. “As a product of Dallas ISD myself, part of my push is that it doesn’t matter where you come from or your background. There are no excuses why we can’t achieve at a high level.”
Nominated schools must now complete a rigorous application process through the U.S. Department of Education. Announcements of the national award winners will be made in September 2019. Schools that receive the award will be recognized at the Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.