LAFAYETTE — Hattie A. Watts Elementary School in Patterson is one of six schools in the state named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education.
A total of 305 schools — 256 public and 49 private — received the national distinction, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Education.
Schools receive the distinction for high levels of student achievement based on state assessment scores or for making great strides in narrowing the achievement gap among in its student population.
Watts was recognized for its high-performing status, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Watts is also labeled a “high performing, high poverty” school by the Louisiana Department of Education. The state label identifies those schools with performance scores above 100 with at least 65 percent of students on free or reduced lunches — an indicator of poverty.
Watts school performance scores were 109.6 in 2009-10 and 100.2 in 2008-09. The state is expected to release last year’s performance scores in the coming weeks.
Watts Principal Niki Fryou said 74 percent of its students receive free or reduced lunch.
Thursday morning, Fryou revealed the Blue Ribbon honor to the school’s students.
“They’re the ones that did it so they’re the ones who should be proud,” Fryou said Thursday afternoon.
Fryou said the school simply did what it sets out to do in its mission statement. She said the mantra is recited by the entire student body every morning: “All teachers teach. All students learn. All parents support. Academically we succeed.”
“We lived out our mission statement,” she said. “We thank all the parents and the community for all their support and with continued support, we’ll continue to shine.”
This school year, Watts was expanded from a PreK to third-grade school to a PreK to fourth-grade school and enrolls 678 students, Fryou said.
The other 2011 Blue Ribbon Schools in Louisiana are:
• Eden Gardens Fundamental Elementary School, Shreveport.
• Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, Natchitoches.
• Many Elementary School, Many.
• Metairie Academy for Advanced Studies, Metairie.
• Rosenthal Montessori Elementary, Alexandria.
All schools will receive their National Blue Ribbon School awards at a conference and awards ceremony set Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.