P.S. 222 and P.S. 247 take top honors as National Blue Ribbon Schools


For students and staff at P.S. 222 in Marine Park and P.S. 247 in Bensonhurst, finding out that their schools were among only six in the city and 18 in the state to be named a 2013 Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Department of Education was an exciting, but humbling moment.

“It’s a great feeling for the staff and for everybody,” said P.S. 247 Principal Christopher Ogno. “I think it has sparked an excitement throughout the community.”

“Everyone is delighted [and] excited because they know this award represents the dedication of staff, the support of parents, and the hard work of students,” said P.S. 222 Principal Theresa Olivieri. “This represents sustained continued success. A school had to have five years of academic achievement [in order to qualify].”

This is P.S. 222’s first year as a Blue Ribbon School and P.S. 247’s second honor this year as it was also the only New York City school to be named a National Title 1 Distinguished School.

The Blue Ribbon designation recognizes schools that have placed in the top 15 percent in state assessments in reading or English Language Arts, and math in the most recent year tested.

“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

In November, Duncan will present the principals of each Blue Ribbon school with the award and a Blue Ribbon Flag, to be hung at their schools.

The flag-raising will get its own ceremony later that month in front of P.S. 222’s building at 3301 Quentin Road, so that students, parents and staff can see and celebrate their achievement in person, said Olivieri, who will be going to Washington, D.C., with former principal Louise Blake to pick up the award.

Olivieri credits the District 22 school’s success to its provision of “a well-rounded education that stresses academics, but also balances that with a strong art program and civic education [that] promotes respecting kindness, as well, [plus] teachers who are expert kid-watchers who can provide the support their kids need.”

At P.S. 247, located at 7000 21st Avenue, the principal, humbled, praised parents for their hard work in preparing the school’s outstanding students for academic success.

“The success really starts at home,” said Ogno. “The parents really send their kids here ready to learn, but at the same time we have these great, great teachers who really work to master their craft.

“Everybody pulls together,” he said, “and to get this kind of award is just really, really exciting.”

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