“Once you learn how to win, you keep on winning.”
This statement, made by New Haven School District Superintendent Mr. Kyle Kruse in explanation of NHHS’s longtime “tradition of excellence,” seems to be spot-on.
On September 29th, NHHS was publicly awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award and is now recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. This award, established by the U.S. Secretary of Education, is given to 335 schools in the country each year.
New Haven High School, a first time recipient, is the only public high school in Missouri to receive the National Blue Ribbon Award for the year 2015.
The main mission of the National Blue Ribbon Award, founded in 1982, is to recognize schools throughout America for their academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. NHHS received the award for its academic excellence.
In order to be nominated, NHHS had to score within the top 15 percent of the state schools in reading and math on state assessment tests. NHHS’s subgroups had to score within the top 40 percent of schools in the state on state assessment tests.
NHHS was also required to be in the top 15 percent of Missouri high schools when ranked on graduation rate. In the 2013-2014 school year, NHHS had a 100% graduation rate.
After being nominated, NHHS was invited to apply for recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School. The 25 page application required essays focusing on the curriculum, academics, and leadership within the school.
The application was written by former English teacher Melissa Schwab and English teacher Samantha Hausmann.
“Our process was pretty interesting,” Mrs. Schwab says. “First, Mr. Hoener made a shared document of all the essays and the entire staff contributed facts and details to go into each essay. We spent an entire day writing all 9 essays. During that process, we went around the building asking questions, looking in old yearbooks and local history books, and finding the information we needed. So, the initial process of drafting the essays took about two weeks with staff input and writing the drafts. After that, we went into the revision phase. Since the essays were in a google doc, the entire staff was able to edit and make suggestions for revision. Mrs. Hausmann and I worked over a period of about a month on the staff's suggested revisions.”
“It was truly a collaborative effort,” Mrs. Schwab says. “And that reflects the way our staff works together. Everyone is invested in the success of our students and school, and everyone is willing to work hard to ensure that success occurs.”
Mrs. Hausmann expands, “Receiving the Blue Ribbon Award is like winning the Super Bowl of Education. It is truly one of the highest honors a school district can achieve, and I'm proud to be part of our tradition of excellence here at New Haven.”
NHHS is the first high school in the Four Rivers Conference Area to receive this award. Campbellton Elementary School is the only other conference school to receive blue ribbon honors.
Last year, NHHS scored consistently higher than all the other FRC schools on the ACT, with an overall composite score of 22.9 for the class of 2015. The class of 2016, this year’s seniors, scored higher in every section of the ACT than all other FRC schools.
“It’s a tradition of high expectations in every area,” says Mr. Kruse, “music, academics, and athletics.”
“Our students know from the moment they walk in on the first day that teachers expect high performances.”
The application submitted by NHHS recognizes small class sizes, a high grading scale (95% and above for an A), block scheduling, and strong professional development programs as the building blocks of NHHS’s success. NHHS prides itself on teachers who are directly involved in school leadership.
“Teachers are given tremendous impact in policy and decision making,” the application essay states.
The teachers aren’t the only ones with pride in the school. NHHS’s students also have great pride.
“I don’t think people really pay attention to us because we are a small school,” senior Jenny Alvarez says, “but in reality it’s better, because the teachers pay more attention to us.”
Senior Emily Moreno expands, “we may not have football or golf or swimming and may not be a big school, but we have academics. I think it’s cool.”
Congratulations, NHHS, and keep on winning.