Excellence worth pursuing

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013

We were thrilled to learn and report that Carrsville Elementary School in Isle of Wight County had been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education.

This is indeed an impressive accomplishment, and is directly attributable to the hard work put in by division-level personnel, school administrators, teachers, students and parents alike.

To better put into context the significance of this recognition, we find it noteworthy that only seven public schools, out of a total of 1,820 in the commonwealth, were selected to receive this honor. That equates to less than 4 tenths of 1 percent of all public schools in the state.


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The Carrsville school is in select company indeed.

While the Suffolk News-Herald has readership in the Carrsville area, including families with Suffolk mailing addresses who actually live in that part of Isle of Wight County, a bigger reason Carrsville Elementary’s success is important to parents, students and taxpayers in Suffolk is that the school could serve as a model for how Suffolk could begin to improve its own schools.

Carrsville is not that different from parts of Suffolk. It is a rural area with a diverse mix of students from all socio-economic backgrounds. It houses farmers, shift workers, professionals and others who largely commute to jobs in other parts of South Hampton Roads. It is located in a school district that has suffered from budget cuts and an elected School Board that has at times been embarrassingly ineffective.

And yet the Carrsville school has not just survived in the face of adversity. It has excelled in a way that demands the admiration of educators around the commonwealth.

Blue Ribbon schools set their sights on more than just accreditation, the lowest of the hurdles school systems are supposed to cross in their race to excellence.

Public school systems like the one in Suffolk would do well to try to understand what the best schools in the state are doing for their students and try to emulate those activities, rather than settling for the incremental changes that come about from merely trying to meet the next benchmark.