Parker-Varney Elementary School is one of five schools in the nation to receive the 2016 School Innovation and Change Award. The honor recognizes schools which embraced new and innovative strategies to transform from underperforming to exemplary.
Members of the National Principals Leadership Institute visited Parker-Varney today to officially present the award, which includes a $10,000 grant to support the school’s ongoing transformation efforts.
“The effort Parker-Varney’s staff, students, and parents have made is a tribute to the school’s dedication to the well-being and academic success of all students,” said Dr. Jann Coles, School Innovation and Change Awards director. “This is the only award of its type in the nation, and we are proud to include Parker-Varney in this year’s group of elite honorees.”
Schools measure themselves against 16 specific criteria and consider the degree to which they have improved, grown, and significantly changed. The award application must also include how the school embraced new and innovative strategies to achieve the change. Nine judges comprised of teachers, principals, superintendents, professors, former awardees, SICA officials and other proponents of educational improvement review each application.
“We know we must transform the way we educate beyond the traditional methods,” said Parker-Varney principal Amy Allen. “Our success is a result of our dedicated teachers who embrace innovation and evolve to meet the learning needs of our students.”
The award ceremony at Parker-Varney included student and staff recognitions. New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry, Mayor Ted Gatsas, U.S. Representative Frank Guinta, members of the Board of School Committee and Board of Aldermen were in attendance.
Parker-Varney and its staff have recently been recognized in New Hampshire. It was named the Elementary School of the Year in 2015 by the state Department of Education. Preschool teacher Ashley Preston is the current New Hampshire Teacher of the Year.
“We are very proud of Principal Allen, the teachers, students and their families for the tremendous improvements Parker-Varney has made,” said superintendent Debra Livingston. “Their hard work and enthusiasm are helping students grow to be outstanding citizens and lifelong learners.”
The National Principals Leadership Institute created the School Innovation and Change Award in 1999. Since then, more than 900 schools have been nominated from 47 states, and just 86 schools have been selected, including this year.