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Varnett accepts 2010 National Blue Ribbon award during D.C. ceremony

WASHINGTON - Varnett sent a delegation to Washington to accept a prestigious National 2010 Blue Ribbon School Award during a ceremony filled with pride, cheers and tears.

The East Campus earned the honor for high student achievement under the leadership of Superintendent M. Annette Cluff and 2009-2010 campus director Twilet Alexander. It was one of only 14 charter schools in the country and the only state charter school in Texas to be recognized for the honor. The award was in recognition of East’s high performing students and for being ranked among the top 10 percent of schools in Texas as measured by its performance on standardized testing.

“I was very proud to represent Varnett at the Blue Ribbon ceremony,” Mrs. Alexander said.

Accompanying Mrs. Alexander to Washington were board member Thomas Johnson and his wife, Jeannette; curriculum coordinator Greta Peacock; East Campus assistant director Adelia Lopez; teacher of the year Shanti Bhatt of the East Campus and Southwest Campus assistant director Melissa Cluff, who represented the superintendent.

“This was a great honor for the Varnett-East Campus,” Ms. Peacock said. “We’ll strive to maintain this high quality of education at Varnett.”

One by one, the winning schools throughout the nation sent representatives to the podium where they posed for pictures with Aba S. Kumi, director of the Blue Ribbon Schools Program.

According to the Texas Education Agency, the 25 winning Texas schools were recommended by an intra-agency committee that examined student achievement statistics for more than 8,000 public schools and charter campuses throughout the state.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered the keynote address and congratulated the winning schools in a packed auditorium filled with nearly 1,000 people at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

“As President Barack Obama said, ‘an education can fortify us to rise above any barrier, to meet any test,’” Duncan said. “I applaud this year’s Blue Ribbon Schools for your dedication to academic excellence and for your commitment to improving education in America. By helping your students learn and by caring for them as individuals, you are a model for your state and for the nation.”

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