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    Monday, August 08, 2022

    A blue ribbon for Groton

    The Day congratulates Groton's Thames River Magnet School on being named one of only four National Blue Ribbon Schools in the state and of 325 schools nationwide.

    Thames River Magnet is a pre-kindergarten through Grade 5 school that carries the legacy of the former Mary Morrisson Elementary School, which closed last year as Groton went to an all-magnet elementary system. About one-half of the Thames River Magnet students come from military families, as did many at Mary Morrisson. The educational mission has always included managing the particular challenges from numerous changes of school as military assignments move families around the country.

    Mission accomplished. The announcement of National Blue Ribbon designation came last week from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Oustanding success in either of two categories can earn a school the award: by being among the state's highest-performing schools as measured by achievement tests, or being among the state's highest-performing schools to close the so-called achievement gap between the individual school's student groups and Connecticut students overall.

    The "Mary Morrisson School community" was cited for exemplary performance in closing the achievement gap, and the designation carries over to Thames River Magnet and its educators.

    The achievement gap that regularly separates wealthier school districts and more privileged demographics from urban, less affluent school systems has been a stubborn problem for Connecticut. Although many educators express reservations about using standardized testing to measure achievement, the tests are given annually and, every year, the gap stands out.

    Groton is unique among Connecticut districts for the percentage of its students coming from military families. The influx and departure of students can be problematic for teaching in a classroom of students who enter from out-of-state schools, but it also presents opportunities. The Groton schools have taken advantage of the diversity and broader experience of much-traveled families to create a unique atmosphere for staying connected and thus better able to learn. One example is "Anchored4Life," which allows student leaders and peers to make and keep connections among them and the community. 

    Thames River is the second Groton school to receive a National Blue Ribbon; Charles Barnum Elementary received one in 2016. Both awards testify to the creativity of Groton Public Schools educators, students and families. Congratulations! 

    The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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