The Long Beach Unified School District will have to make some more room in its trophy case because two more schools have been selected as national Blue Ribbon schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

With the addition of Charles Kettering Elementary School and Tincher Preparatory Academy, LBUSD is now home to 10 Blue Ribbon schools. Of the nine Los Angeles County schools to be honored, Long Beach Unified was the only district to have two schools represented. Thirty-six schools in California were honored, including five in Orange County.

“Congratulations to the Tincher community for this well-deserved recognition,” Tincher principal Alma Black said in a news release. “Our school continues to make a huge, positive impact upon students, and it’s gratifying to see everyone’s hard work celebrated at the national level.”

Tincher and Kettering are two of the 367 schools nationwide selected for the honor.

“We’re pleased to again be recognized among some of the nation’s top schools, and we congratulate the Kettering and Tincher school communities on this great accomplishment,” LBUSD spokesperson Chris Eftychiou told the Press Telegram last week. “These awards recognize safe, welcoming schools where students master challenging coursework. Our schools remain committed to these ideals despite the challenging times everyone is facing in light of the ongoing global (coronavirus) pandemic.”

The award is the first national Blue Ribbon honor for Tincher, a K-8 school at 1701 Petaluma Ave. It is also the first Blue Ribbon award for Kettering, a K-5 school at 555 Silvera Ave. Other past Blue Ribbon schools in the district include Cubberley, Rogers, Hughes, Lowell, Twain, Prisk, Naples and the California Academy of Mathematics and Science.

“Isn’t this just fabulous?” Kettering principal Rachel Peters said. “This is a terrific school. I am so giddy and happy.”

This is Peters’ second year as principal. She noted that Kettering is a school of choice and more than 40% of students outside the Kettering boundaries choose to go there.

“We aren’t doing anything different than other schools, but we are doing it with passion,” she said. “We have committed students, committed families and committed teachers. It’s that community that got us here. You look at our academic; we’ve created a school that is rigorous. We push our children, yet we are warm, inviting and welcoming.”

Peters give credit to previous administrators at Kettering for their efforts as well. But as nice as the award is, there is something that would make her happier.

“We are all looking to that day when we can see the students again,” she said. “Have there been bumps? Gosh, yes, but we are moving forward. We are looking at ways to do our best with what we’ve got.

“I love education and I love Long Beach. Our school district is fabulous. There is a saying that we are the best little school and we live up to this every day.”

The Education Department plans to host a virtual recognition ceremony on Nov. 12 and 13. To see the entire list of Blue Ribbon schools, go to nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov.

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