Aurora -- Harmon Middle School has been designated a National Blue Ribbon School, a program which has recognized top schools nationwide since 1982.
Since the program's founding, the U.S. Department of Education has bestowed the award on more than 7,000 of America's schools.
The honored schools are ranked among the state's highest performing schools as measured by assessments referenced against national norms in both reading and mathematics.
"This honor goes beyond meaning so much to all of us in this school system," said Harmon Principal Mark Abramovich. "It is a testament to how dedicated the staff here is, how goal-oriented and focused the students are and how supportive the parents are year-in and year-out."
He said the honor is based upon five consecutive years of academic excellence and achievement. Out of 643 middle schools in Ohio, Aurora is only one of two to earn the award, and one of 22 nationwide.
Fifteen Ohio schools were included on the list made public last week. Other schools in Northeast Ohio are Cuyahoga Heights High School, Akron Early College High School, Incarnate Word Academy in Parma Heights, Orchard Middle School in Solon, West Geauga High School and Watson Elementary School in Massillon.
The U.S. Department of Education will honor 264 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony in Washington, DC, on Nov. 12-13. Each school will receive a plaque and flag.
"Myself and seventh-grade English / reading teacher LaQuita Timberlake will go to the ceremony in Washington, D.C., to accept the award," Abramovich said.
"The Blue Ribbon committee specifically requests only the building principal and a teacher attend. Mrs. Timberlake was selected," added Superintendent Russ Bennett, "This is another great accolade that the district can share. I am so proud of our staff, administrators and students. It's one the highest honors a district can receive, and to meet the rigorous targets is a great accomplishment.
"This is another proud day for our schools and community. Our teachers put their hearts and souls into ensuring our students learn, and our students work so hard to achieve. Now, all that hard work has paid off. It's a great honor."
The honor is one of many the local district has received in recent years. On its 2013 state report card, the district received A's in seven categories, one of only a handful of districts which achieved that amount.
Aurora's performance index of 109.1 on the state report is the district's best since the state developed its annual rating system and the 14th best statewide this year.
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