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AEP named Blue Ribbon School

Ruston campus garners national recognition
Friday, September 22, 2023
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Photo via A.E. Phillips Laboratory School has been named a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School.

There’s a Blue Ribbon School in Lincoln Parish.

This week the U.S. Department of Education named A.E. Phillips Laboratory School a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School.

The K-8 school on the campus of Louisiana Tech University is one of just 353 schools across the United States honored with the Blue Ribbon title this year.

“It means a great deal because it’s such a high honor,” AEP Director Jenny Blalock said. “We are always setting our sights on improving and becoming a top school in the state. But to be recognized at a national level is something beyond what we were even striving for.”

The Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon School program has for 40 years recognized schools either for excellence in overall academic performance or in making great strides in closing achievement gaps between student groups, according to the program’s website.

AEP was among those in the former category.

Blalock said the honor is important foremost to give the school’s teachers and students the recognition and credit they deserve.

“I believe this about teachers all over our city — they work so hard, and there’s a lot that goes into their job that others don’t see,” she said. “It’s got to be one of the most difficult jobs. They’re constantly watching out for the safety and wellbeing of the students. There’s not a down minute in the day.

“For them to get positive recognition and accolades and have a chance to celebrate, it means a great deal to me that they’re getting this.”

For students, she said the Blue Ribbon honor shows them their hard work is paying off.

“We set goals with our students, tell them what the vision for our school is, and to come back and say, ‘Look, because you’ve been striving, look at this great thing that has happened because of your hard work.’” According to a release from Louisiana Tech, AEP is known for its strong academic focus, innovative teaching strategies and emphasis on the arts. The school strives to be a model fo educational excellence, student leadership and service.

“This achievement is a testament to the dedication of A.E. Phillips’ students, faculty, and the entire school community,” Tech President Les Guice said. “ Our university is proud to be associated with such an outstanding institution and celebrate this welldeserved honor.”

This past school year was the first time AEP’s academic results and accountability scores from the state department became part of the Lincoln Parish public school system’s.

“A.E. Phillips is most deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Ricky Durrett, Superintendent of Lincoln Parish Schools. “I want to congratulate the students and faculty for their hard work that has resulted in academic excellence.”

Keeping the focus on teachers, Blalock said the kind of success that leads to a Blue Ribbon recognition comes from a staff with genuine passion for students.

“That’s what I notice about our teachers and great teachers everywhere,” she said. “Teachers do it because they love what they do, and they love the kids. They don’t look at it as a job.”