Johnston’s Summit Middle School Lands National Top Schools Nomination

Photo of the exterior of Summit Middle SchoolSummit Middle School has been named a Blue Ribbon School nominee by the Iowa Department of Education. This is the first time Summit has been nominated for the award.

According to the U.S. Department of Education website, “The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.” The program originated in 1982 to affirm the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

Nominations are made primarily on the basis of student achievement as measured by the 2016-17 Iowa Assessments. Students at each tested grade must be in the top 15% of schools in reading and mathematics.

  • 2016-17 Summit sixth grade reading proficiency rates: 84.6%
  • 2016-17 Summit seventh grade reading proficiency rates: 89.7%
  • 2016-17 Summit sixth grade math proficiency rates: 89.2%
  • 2016-17 Summit seventh grade math proficiency rates: 96.1%

In the state of Iowa, a total of five schools are nominated; two of the five must have over 40 percent of their students receiving free or reduced price lunch. This year two elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools have been nominated.

“Being nominated as a Blue Ribbon School is an incredible testament to the hard work our staff, parents, and students have placed on the value of learning and making sure that the supports are in place for that to happen,” said Dr. Corey Lunn, JCSD Superintendent. “Summit staff have gone above and beyond in their approach to educating the whole child and their efforts are reflected in this achievement data and the overall atmosphere at Summit.”

The principal of Summit Middle School is Chris Billings. He took the lead position in July 2017 after former Summit principal Joy Wiebers accepted a new role as the JCSD Director of Student Support & Equity. There are approximately 125 Summit staff members – teachers, associates, and other building support – and 1,150 students in grades six and seven.

“As we have grown as a building and as a district, our staff have pulled together to create curriculum that is relevant and challenging to students at a critical time on their academic journey,” said Wiebers. “I’m proud of how far we’ve come and the ownership both students and staff take in their work and accomplishments.”

In the spring of 2018, the district will submit applications that verify the eligibility of Summit Middle School. In September 2018, the Secretary of Education will announce the recipients of the National Blue Ribbon School honor.

In 2009, Johnston’s Horizon Elementary was named a Blue Ribbon School.