By Kelsey Durham
The students and staff at PS 46 in Bayside know that academic success is not just about getting good grades.
“It’s about everything,” said Marsha Goldberg, the school’s principal. “Hard work, the joy of learning, being a well-rounded child. That’s what we celebrate.”
Earlier this month, PS 46 was one of just 18 schools in all of New York state to be designated as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education, recognizing the high level of performance the school has recorded over the past few years.
To be named a Blue Ribbon school, a building must have test scores that place it in the top 15 percent for the most recent year. Last year marked the first time PS 46 received this award and Goldberg, who is in her 11th year as principal at the school, said she never imagined such success.
“When I got into education years ago, I never, ever expected that anything like this would have happened,” she said.
To celebrate this distinction, the school declared last week “Blue Ribbon Week” throughout the building and held a ceremony Jan. 17 honoring the students and teachers who made the remarkable achievement possible. Several elected officials, from local to federal levels, accepted invitations to attend the event and offered their congratulations to the young learners and their educators on the major accomplishment.
City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) presented the school with official resolutions honoring PS 46 for its achievement.
“This is such an exciting honor and it’s about time you got recognized,” Weprin said during his remarks to the packed auditorium. “It’s nice to be nationally honored for something we’ve all known for a long time, and that’s that PS 46 is a very special place.”
With the recent changes to Common Core curriculum that called for more rigorous testing among students as young as third-graders, Goldberg said the school’s success is even more significant and shows how dedicated the students are to hard work.
PS 46 is also home to several special needs and English as a Second Language students, and Goldberg said that diversity gives another layer of accomplishment to achieving the national honor.
“It’s an added dimension and shows that we’re a microcosm of what society should be like,” she said. “No one feels differently or is treated differently.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer also spoke at the event and praised the entire school community on the hard work it took to achieve the National Blue Ribbon distinction. He thanked the parents for their dedication to their children and for enforcing the importance of education in their homes.
Stringer was also given a healthy round of applause after telling the audience that he thinks PS 46 should serve as an example of what New York City schools are really about.
“When a Blue Ribbon comes to Queens, to a community that embraces school, it shows the potential for the entire city,” Stringer said. “You’ve shined a light on public schools within the entire city, and for that every parent thanks you.”
Each speaker had plenty of complimentary things to say about the school’s teachers as well as Goldberg, who wiped away tears several times during the ceremony. Although she said the National Blue Ribbon was unexpected, Goldberg said she feels that each one of her students has worked hard to make PS 46 the successful place it is today.
“For us, it has always been about making a difference,” she said. “It’s not just about getting 100on tests. It’s about the pursuit of learning. And I truly believe our best days are yet to come.”
Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.