MANCHESTER, NH – Spirits were high at Parker-Varney Elementary School Monday following the surprise announcement that they had been named the best school in the sate, as Elementary School of Excellence, an annual determination by the New Hampshire Excellence in Education committee.
Other schools honored Monday included Ashland Elementary School, which won the K-8 award, and Bow High school, which earned honors in the high school division
The “ED”ie Awards recognize New Hampshire public schools that meet high standards of excellence and can serve as representatives of the many excellent schools throughout the state. Students, faculty, and community members were surprised by the award announcement during a school assembly at Parker-Varney.
The selection process is rigorous. It began last December, when Manchester School District submitted an application that described various aspects of Parker-Varney’s culture and successes, including how the school personalizes learning, specific innovations that have made an impact, key strengths of the school, and how the Parker-Varney school could serve to inspire others.
“We know we must transform the way we educate beyond the traditional methods,” said Parker Varney principal Amy Allen. “So much of our success is a result of our dedicated teachers who embrace innovation and evolve to meet the learning needs of our students.”
The Parker-Varney award application emphasized project-based learning, in which students are encouraged to design and manage hands-on community service and research projects.
Other highlights of Parker-Varney are the Innovation Learning Lab, which provides students with daily individual instruction in literacy and math, and enhanced professional development opportunities for the teachers to learn from each other and try new things. Family and community involvement have been crucial components to the success at Parker-Varney.
School volunteers have quadrupled from 25 to 100 participants in the past couple of years. Once Parker-Varney became a School of Excellence finalist, the EDies selection committee visited the school. That’s when students and teachers had the chance to show off the learning and innovation in action.
“We are very proud of Principal Allen, the teachers, students and their families for making Parker-Varney the best elementary school in the state,” said Debra Livingston, superintendent. “Their hard work and enthusiasm show in everything they do while helping students grow to be outstanding citizens and lifelong learners.”
On Saturday, June 6, all of New Hampshire’s Schools of Excellence will be honored at the 22nd annual “ED”ies award celebration. This gala event is a collaborative effort of most of the major state-wide education associations.
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