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Being best: Carter City Elementary recognized as Blue Ribbon school

By: Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

 Carter City Elementary has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon School – one of only five in the entire state of Kentucky to earn the distinction this year. 

Carter City principal Jo Ashworth explained that the school earned the distinction in two separate categories. The school was recognized for “closing the gap” and as an “exemplary high performing” school, she said. 

“We’re a small school. Enrollment is 130,” Ashworth explained. She said this allowed the staff to teach in a holistic manner that engaged “the whole child.” 

“One of the things that is key for us is relationships,” she said. “Everybody knows your name.” 

This, she explained, was “important to identifying (the students’) needs.” 

Those relationships, between students and staff, as well as amongst teachers and between staff and administration, are also important to building on what students learn from year to year, she said. 

“It’s a team approach. On the achievement part, we build from pre-K up through grade 5,” she said. 

Though the rating is based on the test scores of older students, she said the skills they start on in the early grades are important, because students build upon those skills as they move through their education. 

“Those foundational skills are important,” she said. 

“One skill builds on another,” she continued. “You have to learn as you go. If you skip those steps (it makes picking up later skills more difficult).” 

That’s why the communication and teamwork throughout the elementary school, and the district as a whole as students move on to higher grades, is important to student success she added. 

“The support through the district has been critical,” she said. 

While she’s honored to have her school recognized, she said she is a little disappointed that they won’t get to participate in an in-person awards ceremony due to COVID-19 concerns. 

“Normally you go to Washington D.C., but this year the awards ceremony is virtual,” she said. 

Despite that, though, she said she’s still honored to have her school, and the hard work of the staff and student body, recognized. 

“I’m absolutely elated and honored with the award,” she said. “This is something that comes along once in a career.” 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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