Hillside Academy named one of nation’s top schools

Recognized across the nation, the title of Blue Ribbon School symbolizes exemplary teaching and learning. Garland ISD’s Hillside Academy for Excellence can now proudly claim this honor.

On Sept. 28, the U.S. Department of Education announced just 329 campuses as 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

“Hillside is absolutely thrilled to receive this honor for the first time in school history,” said Principal Sonya Palmer. “We are excited that all our hard work, dedication and devotion to students as a Hillside Eagle family is being recognized. We often revise Roger Staubach’s quote to say, ‘There are no traffic jams at the extra mile, except at Hillside.’  Everyone here takes pride in going that extra mile.”

The Blue Ribbon Program was founded in 1982, recognizing schools based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Hillside was one of just 26 campuses in the state nominated for a 2016 award by the Texas Education Agency. The school then completed a rigorous application process.

This year’s 279 public and 50 private school honorees will be recognized at a November ceremony in Washington D.C. Each winner will receive an award plaque and a flag as symbols of their accomplishments.

"National Blue Ribbon Schools are proof that we can prepare every child for college and meaningful careers,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said in a video message. “Your schools are on the cutting edge, pioneering innovative educational practices—professional learning communities, project-based learning, social and emotional learning, positive behavior systems—making you shining examples for your communities, your state and the nation."

Just last year, Kimberlin Academy for Excellence was named a National Blue Ribbon School. In fact, a total of eight GISD campuses have been recognized 13 times over the past 34 years.

For more information, visit the program’s website.