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Celebrating Excellence: Sidener Academy Recognized as National Blue Ribbon School

 The U.S. Department of Education today recognized Sidener Academy as one of the 353 National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups on assessments.

Sidener is a member of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) community of schools serving high-ability students in grades 2 through 8.

“This recognition is a testament to the unwavering dedication and outstanding efforts of our students, staff, parents, and the entire Sidener community,” said Deryck Ramey, who is in his first year as the school’s principal. “This award is one of the most esteemed honors a school can receive in the United States. It is a recognition of excellence in education and a symbol of our commitment to providing a world-class learning environment for our students.”

Heather Varno, IPS Senior Coordinator for Social Studies and the former Sidener Principal (serving from 2018-2023), said she is proud of the school’s focus on increasing diversity and access for gifted learners.

Varno and Carlee Robbins, the school’s assistant principal, were responsible for filing the paperwork for the award.  

“The journey to becoming a Blue Ribbon School has been marked by hard work, determination, and the collaborative spirit of our entire school community,” she said. “This achievement also belongs to IPS for providing this educational setting to meet the needs of gifted learners. Through Rebuilding Stronger, a high-ability middle school will open next year, and the elementary will expand its number of seats.”

With its 40th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,700 schools. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for – and attaining – exemplary achievement. National Blue Ribbon Schools represent the full diversity of American schools and serve students of every background.

While awardee schools represent the diverse fabric of American schools, they also share some core elements. National Blue Ribbon School leaders articulate a vision of excellence and hold everyone to high standards. They demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning, and the schools value and support teachers and staff through meaningful professional learning.

Data from many sources are used to drive instruction and every student strives for success. Families, communities, and educators work together toward common goals.

National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective and innovative school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation. A National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing a school’s entryway or on a flagpole is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.