Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wexford Elementary Gets National Designation as Excellent

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wexford Elementary Gets National Designation as Excellent

Article excerpt

Mr. Walsh is going to Washington.

As principal of Pine-Richland's Wexford Elementary School he's taking a few representatives of the staff to celebrate his building's selection as a national "Blue Ribbon" school.

"All of us feel very honored," Rick Walsh said.

On Sept. 30, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan recognized Wexford Elementary as one of 337 schools in the country as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2014. The school has about 400 students in kindergarten through third grade. Its selection was based on overall academic excellence, according to a news release explaining the designation.

It's the first time a Pine-Richland school has been chosen for such an honor, said Rachel Hathhorn, school district spokeswoman.

The students' performance on nationally accepted tests verifies the federal designation of Wexford Elementary as a "High Performing School," Ms. Hathhorn said. Pennsylvania State System of Assessment scores reported for the past five years show nearly 97 percent of Wexford's third-grade students scored "proficient" or better in math, and nearly 91 percent posted the same levels of excellence in reading.

Wexford is one of two 2014 "Blue Ribbon" schools in Allegheny County (the other is an elementary school in the West Allegheny district) and one of 14 in Pennsylvania to achieve the distinction.

Mr. Walsh credits the collaboration of students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community at large for his building's success.

Hired as principal in the fall 2008 from Trinity Area School District and having been a teacher prior to that in the Mt. Lebanon district, Mr. Walsh said Wexford has stood out in its mission to partner with all stakeholders. He points to the "Literacy Book Room" within the building as an example of a project that came together via the efforts of all.

The room is filled with 13,000 books that were purchased to facilitate a teaching method known as guided reading. …

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