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Easton's Middle School Earns Blue Ribbon Award

EASTON, Conn. – Helen Keller Middle School is one of only four Connecticut public schools to receive the 2011 Blue Ribbon Schools Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

The award is based on the students' high level of achievement as measured by the Connecticut Mastery Test , Principal Susan Kaplan said in a statement. Helen Keller Middle School is among 255 public schools and one of only 33 middle schools nationwide to receive the award.

"I would like to acknowledge the work of our dedicated faculty and staff, along with the faculty and staff of Samuel Staples Elementary School. We are very well aware that the formal education of our middle school students is one point along the continuum that began the day that each student entered the doors of elementary school," Kaplan said in a statement.

A high-performing public school means, at minimum, "that the achievement of the school's students in the most recent year tested places the school among the highest performing schools in the state on state assessments of reading or English language arts and mathematics and, disaggregated results for student subgroups, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, must be similar to the results for all students tested," the U.S. Department of Education's website states.

Easton's seventh-graders scored the highest percent in at or above goal in writing with 94 percent compared with similar towns' scores.

"The middle school scores are very, very competitive – almost all of them are in the 90s," Marie McPadden, director of curriculum, said when the results were released in mid-July. "Grade 8 reading scored 96.1 percent – and we're very pleased with writing as well. ... In the DRG, we are very competitive across the board in all areas."

Kaplan will accept the award in Joan Parker's honor. She was Helen Keller Middle School's principal from 2004 to 2010.

"Student success on the Connecticut Mastery Test is but one indicator that they are acquiring knowledge, skills and character that will help them reach their potential," said Kaplan.

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