Stony Lane Elementary School has been named a Blue Ribbon School, a national program that recognizes excellence in schools.
“Congratulations to Principal Ed Ferrario, the Stony Lane faculty, staff, and students, and families and the North Kingstown School Department community for this prestigious honor!” said Supt. Phil Auger in an email that went out to the district. “Thank you for making us so proud!”
Ferrario will travel to Washington D.C. for a ceremony Nov. 18 to accept the honor.
“It’s truly a team effort,” said Ferrario. “I can’t thank our faculty and staff here enough for being committed to the students.”
Ferrario said he learned Stony Lane was in the running last year. It was nominated by the R.I. Dept. of Education.
“It is a big deal,” he said about when they heard, “kind of overwhelming.”
After they were notified, the school had to put together a 40-page application, citing everything from the methods and strategies used to improve test scores to how involved the parents are to what role the arts play.
“The biggest reason why we received a Blue Ribbon school honor is that the gap that we had from students in special education and students on free and reduced lunch had closed so significantly that you couldn’t even identify those kids anymore,” Ferrario said, referring to gaps in NECAP standardized test scores.
“It’s a lot of hard work for the teachers who work here,” he said about closing that gap.
When the NECAP results are released, the school identifies those students who were not able to achieve proficiency and targeted them with extra help.
But Ferrario noted other reasons for Stony Lane’s success. When he began as principal there five years ago, the school went K through 3. It switched to K-5 three years ago and Ferrario credits that change to helping the school to focus on those children who need help.
“I think that makes us more cohesive,” he said. “You continue to scaffold and build a program” for those students. “The K-5 is a much better configuration.”
In addition, he said, “we do a lot of arts integration, which we did many years ago, but the funds have been cut. But we still try to do it, because the children learn, not in isolation, but across the board, how to integrate the arts, music, library skills.”Ferrario added, “We have a wonderful climate, a wonderful culture in the school. Everybody’s engaged and involved. That makes a big difference.”