The Upper St. Clair School District's Fort Couch Middle School is one of 286 schools nationally to earn a 2013 National Blue Ribbon Award and has been included on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Exemplary High Performing Schools.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the announcement live on Tuesday via the department's USTREAM channel, viewed by recognized principals, teachers, and students assembled across the country.
"Excellence in education matters, and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers," Duncan said.
Added Upper St. Clair Superintendent Dr. Patrick T. O'Toole in a news release, "I wish to commend the Fort Couch leadership team, teachers, support staff, parents and students for this significant achievement. Their hard work and talent made this prestigious honor happen."
Fort Couch Middle School Principal Joe DeMar and USC's Supervisor of Middle Level Education John Rozzo will travel to Washington, DC, when the Department of Education will honor the National Blue Ribbon Schools with a plaque and a flag as symbols of their recognized status.
The 2013 National Blue Ribbon Award is the fourth received by Fort Couch Middle School, having earned this distinction in the 1986-87, 1992-93 and 2001-02 academic years. Only seven other schools in the nation have earned four Blue Ribbon Awards.
According to O'Toole, "The history of Blue Ribbon Awards at Fort Couch Middle School is a tribute to former Upper St. Clair administrator, the late Donald Eichhorn, who revolutionized middle level education at USC and nationally in the 1960s.
"He did so through his pioneering research and implementation of developmentally responsive programs for adolescents."
Previously, Upper St. Clair High School earned three National Blue Ribbon Awards, and Albert F. Baker, Eisenhower and Carl R. Streams elementary schools, and Boyce Middle School, have each earned one National Blue Ribbon Award.