NEWTON, Ala. (WDHN) — A Wiregrass elementary school has received a prestigious national award that is awarded to only five school in the state.

Dale County’s Newton Elementary received the Blue Ribbon award today for the 2021 school year, an award given out by the United States Department of Education.

Schools given this award are recognized for either high achievement in-state assessment, as was the case for Newton, or for closing achievement gaps.

“It’s exciting you know?” Newton Elementary School Principal, Patrick Reed said. “Education, it takes time to see results. It’s not something that’s instant gratification and it is great to see the smiles on the kid’s faces, and the excitement from the staff. Teachers are underappreciated in a lot of places, and they feel validated today.”

Along with funding intervention teachers, Newton Elementary was able to raise test scores and accomplish this achievement by identifying gaps the students had and working with them personally in areas they were struggling.

By intervening both in and out of the classroom, teachers were able to help with what students were missing, especially after being out so long during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Teachers do not teach for the pay. They teach it because it’s a calling, they have a passion,” Dale County Superintendent, Ben Baker said. “I’ve not seen any greater passion than the passion here at Newton Elementary School, where these teachers, they love their kids, they love their school, and it shows.”

Newton Elementary also says this is not just an achievement for them, but for the whole community.

“It definitely takes the support of our parents and our community,” Baker said. “Our parents support this school, they love this school, and it all goes back to having great communities, great climate, and culture, and a lot of that goes back to parental support.”