NEWTON, Ala. (WDHN) — Governor Ivey stopped by Newton Elementary school to personally congratulate 40 faculty members and close to 300 students for being named a National Blue Ribbon School and Distinguished School.

“Being only one of five schools in Alabama to receive the Blue Ribbon and being one of two to receive the distinguished school award is not one to take lightly but one to achieve again and again,” Gov. Ivey said.

The school was named a Blue Ribbon School based on outstanding academic performance. The National Distinguished honor comes from Newton Elementary having that high achievement for two or more years in spite of a high poverty rate of at least 60 percent.

Dale County Superintendent Ben Baker credits his employees no matter their role for contributing to this national accomplishment.

“We’re the highest-performing county school system in the state because we build relationships with children, families, and the community,” Baker said.

Although the state has made some strides when it comes to reading and math – the state is still ranked near the bottom for education.

She says the driving force behind her second term is education for the state of Alabama and she hopes other schools will look at Newton as the role model and hopefully they could end up on a national list too.

“I don’t know if they are doing anything wrong I just don’t think they know how to go beyond what they are presently doing,” Gov. Ivey said. “I have an executive order I established a commission on teaching and learning on how we attract and retain and prepare our teachers.”

Gov. Ivey encouraged the teachers to keep shaping up the next generation and for the students to continue reading and working on math problems. She says she hopes Newton will continue to excel and maybe more recognition will be in store in the near future.