The North Bend Eagle

  NBE classroomFourth grader Mack Ruzicka gets help from teacher Jana Post on a science project. NBC was one of four school in Nebraska to be recognized as a Blue Ribbon school this year.

NBC receives prestigious national award for excellence

by Nathan Arneal
Published 10/3/18

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Monday that North Bend Central is among the schools to receive a prestigious national award from the U.S. Department of Education.

NBC has been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence after a year-long selection process.

“I think that says a lot about who we are as a community,” NBC Elementary principal Tessie Beaver said. “Our children come from outstanding families. We have teachers who are incredibly dedicated. When they recognize you nationally for that, it’s just amazing.”

Blue Ribbon School 2018The process started at the state level with the Nebraska Department of Education, which uses state test scores to identify schools that stand out from the crowd. Based a variety of test scores and other data, the state department nominates a handful of schools to the national Department of Education. NBC was informed it was nominated to be a Blue Ribbon school in January.

“When we found out that we were nominated, it was a big deal,” Beaver said. “Our teachers were incredibly proud. It truly meant a lot.”

The U.S. Department of Education then sends out 18-page questionnaires to the nominated schools asking for details on the school’s curriculum and reasons why it feels it is a school of excellence.

Beaver said one of the things she mentioned in the application is NBE’s positive behavior intervention program.

“We put a tremendous amount of work into ensuring positive behaviors with our students,” she said, “teaching them how we want them to learn and behave, then providing the resources for them to do that.”

NBE teachers try to catch students in the act of being good people.
While the Blue Ribbon award was technically won by the elementary school, superintendant Dan Endorf said it will be treated as a district-wide award. He pointed out that a couple of the classes now in the high school building were at

NBE when the testing data was being gathered. Plus, nearly everyone in the high school building came through NBE.

“We’re going to celebrate in every way shape and form we can,” Endorf said.
Beaver agreed with the district-wide approach.

“It was the students who have come before that helped us get here,” she said, “and it will be the students that come after us that add to that.”

The NBC staff informed students of the school’s Blue Ribbon nomination earlier this fall. When it became pretty clear that NBC was a likely winner, the entire district’s students and staff gathered for a picture on the football field spelling out “NBC.” That picture, which ran on the cover of the Aug. 29 Eagle, served as a backdrop when DeVos announced North Bend as one of this year’s winners.

In November, Beaver, Endorf, fourth grade teacher Bev Gruber and school board president Dan Wesely will travel to Washington, D.C. to accept the award. They will also get a chance to compare notes and share ideas during a roundtable with other Blue Ribbon schools.

Following the D.C. presentation, NBC will host its own celebration with parents and community invited.

Endorf said the Blue Ribbon recognition goes beyond test scores to include school culture and traditions he said go back for generations.

“The No. 1 reason we have that culture and reputation is many, many years of teamwork,” Endorf said. “A lot of farm families who work together with the people in town to make sure that everybody’s kid gets a good education regardless of their background, their monetary situation, their needs, their abilities or their disabilities.

“I mean all that. I think our tradition and reputation had a lot to do with it.”

North Bend was one of four schools in Nebraska to be recognized. The others were Hitchcock County Elementary, Maud Rousseau Elementary in Lincoln and Osceola Elementary.

“The four Nebraska honorees are a shining examples of hard work and determination,” Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matthew Blomstedt said. “These schools are demonstrating what it takes to complete the important work of closing achievement gaps to ensure all students have an equitable opportunity to succeed and to be college, career, and civic ready.”

The video announcement and more info can be found at


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