Inside Education S20 Ep5 Clip | Two CCSD Schools Receive National Blue Ribbon Award

Two schools in the Clark
County School District have been recognized as National
Blue Ribbon Schools. It’s an incredible
achievement, as just 362 public
and private schools around the nation
received this honor.Charles and Phyllis Frias
Elementary School
and Advanced
Technologies Academy,
known as A-Tech,
were both recognized
for their outstanding
academic achievement
as well as the hard work
of educators, families
and students in meeting
very high standards.
We have
representatives from both
schools with us. Pamela Lindemuth
is principal at Frias
Elementary School, and Jonathan Synold
is principal at A-Tech. First of all,
congratulations. (both) Thank you.
-Yes, that’s awesome. Pamela, let’s
start with you. The National Blue
Ribbon designation, well, in both schools,
it’s rewarding student achievement,
and you’d mentioned it takes a real cohesive
team to make this work. I think we get that,
but what other characteristics make this
work so well at Frias? (Pamela Lindemuth)
A big piece of that
is collaboration: Collaboration
amongst the staff, collaboration
with families. When we look
at collaboration with the staff,
we’re talking about how do we come
together and identify those standards
that students may be struggling with
and collaborate together on really
unwrapping those and diving deep
into those standards to make sure we’re
providing instruction at a really rigorous
and high level. And then with parents, having them
be part of our team. They’re such a critical
piece of our school. I also think the culture
plays a huge role. When you walk
into a building, you kind of feel
that culture, and we’re a culture
of achievement. We’re all there
for all of our students. Every minute matters,
every student matters, and I feel like
we walk the walk every single day
with that. -And that’s important to
get across to everybody. Jonathan, A-Tech. We should
point this out: This is the third
Blue Ribbon that A-Tech has
received in 25 years. You’ve been at
the school for six, four as principal. What do you believe is
the strength of A-Tech? My goodness. (Jonathan Synold)
A-Tech is an
incredible school. It’s got a long legacy
of high achievement, but we’re really excited
about this Blue Ribbon award because in
the past eight years since the last
time we won it, our demographics have
completely shifted. Since we are one of
the few magnet schools that recruit from
across the valley, we have students
from every zip code. Our demographics
look like CCSD’s, so over 50% free
and reduced lunch, 45% Hispanic,
and we’re proud of that because
that has shifted as CCSD’s demographics
have shifted. So even with the
changing demographics, we’re still
seeing huge results and amazing things
are happening. -Right, despite
those changes which sometimes people
think hmm, is that going to be
a complicating factor? You’ve proved
that it’s not. -No, and I think our
teachers have risen to the high
expectations that we have set
for our students, and they really
assist them in making sure they
can reach those goals. Students come in and
they know this is going to be a challenging
environment, and after they see it
for first time, they realize and they
meet those expectations. -That’s awesome.
Pamela, this is your third year
as principal at Frias. One of the things,
in my quick visit over there, part
of the culture is it’s okay to
make a mistake. Students,
when it gets hard, it’s okay because that’s
part of the learning. Explain that, would you? -Absolutely.
We really started talking about having
a growth mindset with our students
a couple of years ago. We did a study
as a staff on what that really means,
and we talked to kids about what
perseverance means, what it means
to have grit, to really work through
problems that are tough. -It’s going to be hard,
but it’s okay. -Absolutely, and when
we make a mistake, it’s okay. We learn from
that mistake so when we are faced
with a similar problem or challenge,
we can overcome that. -One of the other things
that I remember from your school is
the mindfulness room. Tell me about that. -Sure. That started
as the brain child of our counselor,
really looking at what does
mindfulness mean, and she started
a mindful room. Students are able
to go in there with their class and
have mindful sessions. It’s really about
centering themselves. There’s so much
noise out there, and really
letting that go and thinking
about their day, setting goals
for themselves, learning breathing
techniques. When we’re faced
with tough things, how do we get
through that, and that’s really
the heart of that room. -Oh, my gosh. Jonathan, you’ve said
obviously A-Tech has high expectations,
we know that, but you believe that
you’ve really changed the trajectory of
many students’ lives. Can you explain that
briefly before we go. -Yes. We’ve seen
at graduation, a lot of students
would talk about this is their
family’s first person to ever graduate
from high school, and then we went
a little beyond that and we found that
it was about one-third of the students that
were the first student to actually
get into college. What’s amazing is
that students, we don’t just get
them into college, we’re seeing them
graduate on time and they’re
coming back now to help mentor
some of our students. -That’s awesome. I just want to say
congratulations again to both of you. We want to let the
people watching know if you’d like to learn
more about either one of these schools,
you can go online. You’ll find A-Tech
at, and Frias
can be found at

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