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Recognizing Pond Cove Elementary School

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 19, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I am delighted to commend Pond Cove Elementary School of Cape Elizabeth, ME, on being named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon Exemplary High Performing School. This outstanding school is one of only 367 schools across the country to receive Blue Ribbon recognition from the U.S. Department of Education.

Created in 1982, the Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools that are either academically superior in their States or that demonstrate significant gains in student achievement. The schools singled out for this national recognition are models of high educational standards and accountability.

This prestigious designation continues Cape Elizabeth's tradition of quality education. Last year, Cape Elizabeth High School was awarded its second Blue Ribbon. Many high school and middle school students serve as volunteer mentors for elementary pupils, making a strong and positive impact on young learners.

Pond Cove serves 530 pupils from kindergarten through the fourth grade. This award recognizes the hard work and determination of students, teachers, and staff. It is a top-performing school on State- required assessments, and educators at the school use assessments throughout the academic year as a tool for improving and customizing instruction. A strong commitment to professional development ensures that teachers and staff, as well as students, are lifelong learners.

Pond Cove excels as a school built on a foundation of the school district's values of community, academics, passion, and ethics. Through a unique tradition of adding links to a paper chain throughout the school, teachers and staff recognize students who demonstrate those values, instilling a sense of individual and school pride.

In addition to a rigorous core curriculum and a focus on world languages, the school is known for its extensive extracurricular activities in academics, athletics, and the arts, and students are encouraged to pursue their interests. A comprehensive health and wellness program emphasizes good nutrition, physical activity, and stress management. The schoolwide peacemakers curriculum helps students develop the skills to work collaboratively and to respect others. Students learn the value of community service through a variety of opportunities, such as supporting the local food pantry and connecting with senior citizens.

Family and community support is one of the school's greatest assets. The Pond Cove Parents Association and other community organizations provide supplemental funding and resources. Just last year, parents, staff members, and local businesses joined together to create a new playground and outdoor learning center with outdoor classrooms, vegetable gardens, and nature observation areas.

This Blue Ribbon Award is a tribute not only to the students, but also to the administrators, teachers, staff, and parents of Pond Cove Elementary School. Together, they are succeeding in their mission to generate excitement and momentum for learning. They are making a difference in the lives of their students, helping them reach their full potential as independent, responsible learners and citizens. I congratulate the entire Cape Elizabeth community for this well-deserved recognition.

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