The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at very high levels. The program sets a standard of excellence for the highest level of achievement in education. The awards have been given since 1982.
Students and teachers were notified of the honor in a spirited assembly at the school this morning.
"I'm humbled by this opportunity, and excited for what it means for our school and community," said Martha Fisher, who is in her sixth year as principal of the facility.
"I am truly excited that the Cascade Elementary has received the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Award. This award exemplifies the true spirit Cascade has for the future of its learners," said Connie Boutwell, Bedford County's Supervisor of Elementary Education.
"Cascade students are able to achieve this level of personal and academic success through the support of their teachers, parents and community."
Just more than 300 schools receive the honor nationally.
Schools were nominated by the state's chief school officer, and must have shown either exemplary performance or improvement on standardized test scores. Cascade Elementary was nominated in the Exemplary High Performing School category.
"These are schools that are ranked among a state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics or that score at the highest performance level on tests referenced by national norms in at least the most recent year tested," according to USDOE.
According to the Blue Ribbon Award website, "Communities often report that the award makes their neighborhood a more desirable place to live because parents want their children to attend a Blue Ribbon School -- and real estate agents use the Blue Ribbon award as a selling point for those neighborhoods."
Fisher and a teacher from the school will be invited to attend the recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November. Fisher hopes to rally community support to take as many of Cascade Elementary's educators as possible to the award event.
"I am very proud of the staff, students and parents of Cascade Elementary," said Dr. Ray Butrum, superintendent of Bedford County Schools. "Getting to this level of an award like this validates all of the stakeholders of [Cascade] and their efforts to provide a high quality education for the students of the Cascade community."