Delwood earns Blue Ribbon accolades

Delwood Elementary School in Delmar has been named as one of four Blue Ribbon Schools in Iowa.

A small, rural school in Clinton County is getting a big award. 

Delwood Elementary School has been named as one of just four Blue Ribbon Schools in the entire state.

It will celebrate its accomplishment with a 1:45 p.m. rally on Oct. 22 at the Delwood gym. Officials estimate that at least 500 people will be in attendance, including state legislators.

Just four Iowa schools have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019. 

“For this, we don’t enter a contest or a competition,” said Todd Hawley, superintendent at Delwood Community School, “For this, they call you.”

 The award honors schools for overall academic performance or for progress in closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students.

“We are being recognized for exemplary achievement,” Hawley said. “It hasn’t been a one-year fluke for us. We’ve had consistent results for the past five to 10 years.”

Delwood is on a roll these days. It has a brand-new preschool. Its enrollment is on the rise.

The district is composed of 205 elementary students. It does not count its high-schoolers because it has a whole-grade sharing arrangement with the Maquoketa school district.

“We pride ourselves in intervention,” Hawley said. “Everyone is involved. The music teacher doesn’t only teach music. We are supporting the gaps from where the students are to where they need to be.”

The three other Blue Ribbon Schools include:

Dayton Elementary School, Southeast Webster Grand Community School District;

Fredericksburg Elementary School, Sumner-Fredericksburg Community School District;

Winterset Middle School, Winterset Community School District.

According to a post on the U. S. Dept. of Education website, Delwood has made literacy and math top priorities by making sure those subjects have at least 90-minute blocks set aside for daily instruction. 

Students and teachers also have ample access to technology tools, STEM teaching units, and student-behavior-expectations and monitoring programs to help staff collaborate and monitor student progress.

The Department of Education will celebrate all 362 award-winning schools at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14-15.