Fox Chapel Area School District
611 Field Club Road / Pittsburgh, PA 15238 / 412.963.9600

Fairview Named a Top School in the Nation

The blue carpet was rolled out for students and staff, trees were adorned with blue ribbons, and student lockers were decorated with certificates and blue ribbons. It was a special celebration day – recognizing Fairview Elementary School being named a National Blue Ribbon School. One of 279 public and 50 private schools from across the nation (and one of only 18 in Pennsylvania) to receive the honor from the U.S. Department of Education, Fairview was recognized for the high performance of its students who consistently score as a top-performing school on standardized testing.

“It’s absolutely amazing to go here,” said Fairview Elementary School fourth grader Matthew Begg, who said he first found out about the award from his mother, who is the vice president of the school’s PTO. “I did a search on the computer. Fairview last won it [the Blue Ribbon] in 1999.” He added, “It was amazing to be one of the older kids when it happened.”

Fairview teacher Elizabeth Voltz, who has taught at Fairview for 19 years, said, “Soon after I began teaching, Fairview won its first Blue Ribbon. I’m glad to still be a part of Fairview as we win our second one.”

Fourth grader Colette Walter agreed, “I was very excited. To receive a blue ribbon is a very high honor.”

The entire student body, staff, and special guests assembled in the gymnasium October 14, dressed in blue-ribbon colors, creating a sea of blue, to celebrate their achievement.

Assistant Superintendent David McCommons, Ed.D., congratulated Fairview and told the students, “It’s about what you have done. It is a really big, big deal.”

Ashley Nestor, the district’s executive director of elementary education and instruction, also congratulated the students and staff saying, “Being considered one of the best schools in the nation is quite an impressive honor. You have been recognized as an exemplary high-performing school thanks to the tireless efforts of each member of the Fairview learning community.”

She addressed the students, “One of my greatest pleasures has been visiting you in your classrooms and seeing the exciting things you are learning each day. I’ve watched each of you grow these past few years with joy in my eyes and am so proud of the students you have become.”

To the staff, Mrs. Nestor stated, quoting a book she once read, “It is often said that people are developed the way gold is mined; you don’t go in looking for dirt, you go in looking for gold.” She further stated, “I can say first-hand that the staff at Fairview Elementary is truly golden.”

State Senator Randy Vulakovich presented a citation from the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Fairview Principal Becky Stephan and congratulated the entire Fairview community.

Fairview students shared what they think makes their school great in a video, and the student body sang the Fairview song, clearly stating their pride in their school, “We are small but mighty!”

Following the assembly, everyone went outside for a group photo, standing together to form the shape of a blue ribbon as a remembrance of the day and the accomplishment.

Fairview parent and co-president of the school’s PTO Jodi Susnak said of the award and of the school’s celebration, “It is very exciting. I am very happy for the teachers and students to receive such recognition.”

Mrs. Stephan, who along with staff and parents completed the comprehensive Blue Ribbon Schools application process, said that the award would not have been possible without the combined efforts of many people, including all of the Fairview staff, students, and parents, as well as School Board members and district administrators. “Our Fairview community is simply fabulous! We are so fortunate to have a dedicated and highly-qualified staff and active parent support and involvement, and our students are such eager learners.”

Fourth grade teacher Mary Jo Bisceglia commented, “Fairview looks at and values the ‘whole child’ with our goal being that each student reaches his or her full potential.” She added, “The Fairview staff is a family who truly cares about both the students and each other. As a team, we work together to help our students achieve academic excellence.”

Mrs. Susnak, who has been a part of the Fairview community for more than 11 years, agreed saying, “The teachers are friendly and involved with students, and Mrs. Stephan fosters a great community for students to grow and learn.” She also pointed out that there is strong teacher-parent communication.

Susan Littwin’s family just recently moved to the area from New York City where her children attended a private school. She said they chose Fairview for their two children based on its reputation, the advice of friends, and visits to various schools. She commented, “We are thrilled that the school earned the Blue Ribbon recognition! It is one thing to tout a school, but another to be nationally-recognized – that just solidifies the reputation. And, of course, we are thrilled and so thankful that we chose so well!”

Representatives from Fairview, including Mrs. Stephan and fifth grade teacher John Anderson, accepted the honor on behalf of the Fairview community at a two-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on November 7 and 8, along with the other National Blue Ribbon School honorees.

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