By Phil Corso
Public schools in Little Neck, Oakland Gardens and Richmond Hill landed national Blue Ribbon honors this week along with three others citywide, the U.S. Department of Education said.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement Tuesday, adding the six city schools to a list of 286 others — 50 of which were private — given National Blue Ribbon titles based on academic excellence and improving student achievement around the country.
The three schools from Queens to receive the prestigious title included PS 221, at 57-40 Marathon Pkwy. in Little Neck; PS 46, at 64-45 218th St., in Oakland Gardens; and PS 66, at 85-11 102nd St. in Richmond Hill.
“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”
Marsha Goldberg, principal of PS 46, said her school of 575 children made a point to adhere to its motto, “Join together in excellence,” by walking the talk.
“We are a microcosm of today’s society, where everybody works closely together,” she said. “Kudos to the entire school community. It exemplifies that joining together in excellence is not a slogan, it’s our absolute mission for every student every day.”
Principal Phyllis Leinwand of PS 66 in Richmond Hill said her landmarked school emphasized diversity every day, coming out of the city’s most ethnically and culturally diverse borough.
“This school opened in 1898 and has been successfully educating children in this community ever since,” she said. “I am proud to say I am part of a 19th century building educating children for the 21st century.”
PS 221 Principal Patricia Bullard said the school was thrilled to receive the honor and got there by putting the students first.
“I am extremely proud of our entire school community for achieving this national distinction,” she said. “The hard work of our conscientious students, dedication of our staff and support from our parents have helped us become a school of excellence.”
The three Queens schools joined the ranks of others throughout the borough to receive the honor in previous years, including PS 203 in Oakland Gardens, awarded in 2012, and PS 159 in Bayside and PS 173 of Oakland Gardens, which were awarded in 2011.
Other city schools to receive the recognition included PS 199 Jessie Isador Straus in Manhattan, PS 222 Katherine R. Snyder School in Brooklyn and PS 247 in Brooklyn.
City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott praised the six city schools in a statement, recognizing them for “their all-around academic excellence and their success in preparing students for college and careers,” he said. “I congratulate the principals, students, teachers and parents at these six schools for receiving this honor. It is a testament to all of their hard work and dedication to student achievement.”
The National Blue Ribbon Award honors both public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are made in student achievement.
In the award’s more than 30-year history, the honor has been bestowed upon more than 7,000 schools throughout the country.
The Education Department will honor all 286 schools in a recognition ceremony planned for Nov. 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C., Duncan said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.