HOUSTON – Sept. 24, 2020 – Spring ISD’s Edward Roberson Middle School was one of only 367 schools nationwide recognized Thursday as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School, earning the prestigious honor that recognizes academic achievement and the closing of student achievement gaps.
“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a statement. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”
Roberson is well known in the district, as well as the Houston area, for providing a quality education to all students enrolled. It is one of the district’s five schools of choice, attracting applicants from across Spring ISD and beyond.
“Spring ISD is incredibly honored by this award, and we are thrilled to be the home of a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School,” said Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson. “In the decade since its founding, Roberson Middle School has offered amazing academic and enrichment opportunities to its students, and has helped lead the way as a school of choice for families in our district. I commend Principal Walker and her team for being the driving force behind so much good that happens at the school and in Spring ISD.”
Roberson was one of only three Texas middle schools to earn the honor this year and the only one in the Houston area. Roberson was one of 26 schools in the state to be nominated for the award by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) based on student performance on the first administration of the previous year’s STAAR assessments. In addition, each TEA-nominated Blue Ribbon school for 2020 has an economically disadvantaged population of 39% or more.
Roberson, where the economically disadvantaged student population exceeds 75%, has also been recognized as a Gold Ribbon School by the Houston-based research and advocacy group Children At Risk for the school’s work in promoting greater equity and improved outcomes for lower-income and minority students.
“The administration and the staff are absolutely wonderful. They have been working hard over the past several years to really do what’s best for kids,” Watson said, “by making sure that there’s equitable, excellent student outcomes for all of the kids here in the school. You can’t ask for anything more.”
As a math, science, and fine arts academy that balances high academic expectations with real-world applications, Roberson offers admitted students a choice of specialty pathways, including Performing Arts, STEM Engineering, Law Enforcement, and Environmental/Agriculture.
According to Principal Tracy Walker, the programs cultivate a sense of collaborative ownership, close-knit academic community, and shared values among Roberson students, all while promoting critical thinking, creativity, communication, flexibility, leadership, and civic and ethical responsibility.
“We pride ourselves on our specialty communities,” said Walker after watching the official livestream announcement with members of her staff and other district leaders. “We truly do our best to ensure we give the students what they deserve, and that is a choice in their learning and a choice in their future.”
That sense of academic community at Roberson was bolstered last year when the school celebrated its 10th anniversary with the opening of its own purpose-built campus, part of the district’s 2016 bond program. The 156,500-square-foot building features a 400-seat auditorium, an open-concept dining area, and dedicated learning hubs for the school’s specialized programs.
“There are amazing things happening on these campuses each and every day, and this National Blue Ribbon designation further validates that,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath in a statement congratulating the 2020 winners. “I’d like to thank the students on these campuses for making learning a top priority and thank the educators and staff members that work tirelessly to mold young minds into the next generation of successful citizens.”
The 317 public and 50 non-public National Blue Ribbon School honorees will be celebrated during the 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony, Nov. 12 and 13, to be held virtually this year due to COVID-19.