Blue Ribbon Reflections

So Staples is a Blue Ribbon high school — one of only 2 in Connecticut. (The other is right next door: Weston High.)

One part of me says “meh.” I’ve always downplayed these types of rankings — whether Staples was #1 (Connecticut Magazine, a couple of years ago), or #234 (Newsweek, which  before it abandoned its print edition ranked schools based on a spectacularly arbitrary system that placed heavy emphasis on the number of AP tests taken — no matter the scores — as well as, I think, dice rolls and eyes of newt).

But another part of me says “sweet!” Blue Ribbons are awarded by the US Department of Education. They include hard data, like standardized test scores (boo!) and attendance rates. But principal John Dodig also had to write 8 essays, on topics ranging from curriculum to instructional methods.

The education at Staples High School shines brightly. (Photo/Julie Mombello)

The education at Staples High School shines brightly. (Photo/Julie Mombello)

It took a ton of time, but Dodig feels the recognition is worth it. (Never one to resist a jab at federal and state mandates like teacher evaluations as measures of “excellence,” he suggests that Blue Ribbon schools be exempt from those mandates for 3 years.)

Dodig is right. Being named a Blue Ribbon school is a big deal.

It’s recognition that Staples’ emphasis on the “4 As” — academics, arts, athletics and activities — means something. It’s validation that the school’s commitment to personalization pays off. It’s acknowledgment of the hard, excellent work that goes on every day in Westport’s 5 elementary and 2 middle schools.

And it’s great testimony that — despite occasional calls to the contrary — our town’s commitment to education remains strong, steadfast and supreme.

10 responses to “Blue Ribbon Reflections

  1. Good alliterative close !
    Strong, Steadfast, Supreme
    Simply sensational 😉

  2. Steven Halstead

    Congratulation to John Dodig and the entire Staples community.
    This award did not happen by mistake.
    This award is evidence that Westport has valued public education consistently for many years and has supported its system with the required resources.
    Steve Halstead
    Board of Education member for 12 years.

  3. Congratulations also to the taxpayers of Westport, who are the ones that really made this happen.

  4. And who are getting a superb return on their investment.

    • Dan, I have no argument with that statement. The three most important factors in real estate are: schools, schools and schools

  5. I remember there were some people a little while back looking to have a highway sign commemorating the Little League team qualifying for the World Series. Now this seems like a more appropriate accomplishment to publicize and help promote the town of Westport. Congrats to the staff at Staples.

  6. I agree that this is good news and I know that SHS – its students, teachers and principal – all deserve it! I do wish, though, that we didn’t have to jump through data hoops to prove it. If only this award earned us the right to stop evaluating teachers based on test scores.

  7. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Staples alumni who live across the world and continue to raise scholarship funds (not every Stapelite can afford an Ivy League-such education) should also be applauded.

  8. I know many Westporters ( especially more recent imports ) believe the world ends at the old Merritt Superette, but let’s not forget to congratulate Weston.