DODEA elementary school in Italy earns federal award marking it among America’s best
Stars and Stripes September 21, 2023
Vicenza Elementary School in Italy has been recognized as one of the nation’s top-performing schools.
Vicenza was one of 353 National Blue Ribbon Schools this year, the Department of Education announced Wednesday, and it’s the only Department of Defense Education Activity school on the list of award recipients.
This year is the first time Vicenza has received the honor.
Now in its 40th year, the program recognizes outstanding elementary, middle and high schools based on their overall high academic achievement or success in closing the achievement gap among diverse groups of students.
Vicenza was recognized as an “exemplary high-performing” school, according to DODEA, a category that examines performance on state assessments or national standardized tests.
In its application, Vicenza highlighted a math intervention program called Focused Math, which provides 30 to 45 minutes of additional, data-based instructional time once a week to students who need extra help.
The program has been critical in filling gaps left by remote math or missed class time during the pandemic, the application states.
School officials also mentioned a counseling program to support students.
“Young parents and frequent deployments make it essential that the school is a stable, safe place for children,” the Vicenza application said.
At the time it was filed, the school had 570 students in prekindergarten through fifth grade, with a 91% daily attendance rate in the 2021-22 school year.
Vicenza is the only overseas school among this year’s winners, which encompassed 46 states and the District of Columbia. California had the most, with 33.
Among public schools, 74% of blue ribbon winners are elementary schools this year. The 2023 recipients are eligible to reapply in five years.