Blandford and Killian Elementary Schools Named 2007 National Blue Ribbon Schools!

ROWLAND HEIGHTS, CA – OCTOBER 4, 2007 – Rowland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Maria Ott is proud to announce that Blandford and Killian Elementary Schools are named 2007 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. There are 27 public and private schools in California and a total of 287 schools across the U.S. that will receive this recognition, one of the most prestigious education awards in the country that honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap. The schools are invited to attend an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 12-13.

            “We are proud to have achieved our nation’s highest honor for academic excellence,” said Ott. “I appreciate the hard work of our school staff, parents and students. The entire Rowland Unified family joins in congratulating Blandford and Killian.”

            “I am so proud of our entire school community, this is an amazing award to receive!” said Blandford Principal, JoAnn Lawrence. Killian Principal, Susan Halliday said, “We are on cloud nine! All of us are overjoyed to be recognized in this way. It acknowledges the hard work that our staff, students and parents so faithfully do.”

            Both school principals received notification on Tuesday, and immediately celebrated with “Blue Ribbon” ice cream sundaes for their entire teaching staffs! To celebrate and recognize Blandford and Killian Elementary Schools, the Rowland Unified School District has planned a special celebration for both schools on December 5, after they return from the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.          

            The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. The selection is based on two criteria:

1) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; and 2) Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests.



            Blandford Elementary School is located 20 miles from Los Angeles, in the foothills of Rowland Heights. The majority of students are English Language Learners with 17 different home languages represented.  Student achievement in acquiring English proficiency is one of the highest in the school district. Performance on state Writing and Science tests indicate 4th and 5th grade Blandford students’ achievement among the highest in the district and county.

            All members of the Blandford school community have high expectations for student proficiency of standards.  Teachers are reflective practitioners who are committed to meeting the needs of students. Recently teachers have created programs to “Make It Happen” for students having difficulty meeting standards.  Teachers volunteer their lunch and after school time to mentor students one-on-one and conduct after-school clubs to help increase students’ self esteem and interest in school.                                                                                      

            Parent leadership and involvement play a dominant role in the success of Blandford’s students. Over, 10,000 volunteer hours have been logged, not including parent participation on field trips and school wide events. Annual family literacy and math nights bring teachers, parents and students together for dinner followed by math games and or literature stories.  Special parent visitation day are conducted three times a year. During these visits, parents are given a complete tour of every classroom by the principal. A reception, hosted by the teaching staff, follows the tours.

            Killian Elementary School is also nestled in the community of Rowland Heights.  Killian School’s common vision is: Commitment to excellence for all and by all students and staff, through our dedication to provide a strong support system for students; provide a rigorous instructional program delivered with high expectations for academic achievement; provide parent training and encourage parent participation. Staff meets regularly as professionals who possess a compassionate, cooperative spirit to discuss best practices, staff development, school-wide assessment, parent involvement, curriculum development, and technology uses.

            Killian is well-supported by parents and community groups, beginning with its Annual First Day of School Celebration, when parents are invited to attend a special welcome on their child’s first day. Parent involvement is evident in a variety of ways: volunteers, site committees, participation on district committees, participation in Multicultural Day, Family Literacy Night, Mother/Daughter P.J. Night, Father/Son Build a Race Car Night, Family Science Night to name a few. Local businesses support Killian students by providing school incentive programs, donating items for events, and giving discounts. Recently Superior Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge donated a P.T. Cruiser for the school to raffle, with proceeds supporting a new iMAC lab for students. 

            Students participate in extra-curricular activities supporting their acquisition of academic and social skills: Cross-age Tutors, Student Council leaders, Chorus, Regular Band, Jazz Band, Violins, Intramural Sports, Mad Science Club, Chess Club, Drama Club and Young Rembrandts Art classes. All 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students have instruction in M.I.N.D. Institute Math + Music Program, which includes additional instruction on piano keyboards and specialized/individualized computer math. Killian’s campus is shared in the afternoons and Saturdays with American Chinese School which provides instruction in Mandarin, homework assistance and English Language Development (ELD). 

            For more information on Blandford and Killian Elementary Schools and the Rowland Unified School District, please visit The Rowland Unified School District is proud to serve 17,500 students at 23 elementary and secondary schools in the communities of Rowland Heights, Walnut, La Puente, City of Industry, and West Covina.

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