Representatives from each grade celebrate outside Monday by a sign announcing that T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School has been named a National Blue Ribbon school. From left are: Aubree Babaz, Kindergarten; Zoe Cappel, first grade; Aaliyah Sonnier, second grade; Kelsey Keiser, third grade; Braylon Turpeu, fourth grade and McKenzie LeDuff, fifth grade. (Donna Price / American Press)
Tararra Babaz and her fourth-grade class go over a reading assignment Monday at T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School. The school has been named a National Blue Ribbon school. (Donna Price / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:12 AM
T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School was recently recognized as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
Calcasieu Parish Superintendent Wayne Savoy said T.S. Cooley is the first school in the parish to receive the award.
“This recognition is a tribute to all of the teachers who work very, very hard in our parish preparing themselves for our children,” he said.
“This is the perfect example of complete involvement of the education community — students, teachers, faculty, parents and volunteers. They all work together to make something like this possible.”
Savoy said T.S. Cooley is an ideal example of “very positive teamwork.”
“I am very proud of the school, teachers, students and parents here,” he said. “This is the first time a school in Calcasieu Parish has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon school, and we are all pretty excited about it.”
Savoy said that despite criticism of public schools, Calcasieu Parish “is doing a fantastic job.”
“We have a really good system here, and we are going to continue getting better,” he said. “I am very happy for everyone involved. This is an exciting time for this school, and I hope to see more schools in the parish go after this award.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools across the country that are high performing or have greatly improved in student achievement.
T.S. Cooley was the highest performing of five schools in the state to receive this award.
Fritzi Fralick, T.S. Cooley principal, said it’s “very rewarding to see hard work pay off.”
“This award brings great recognition to all the hard work that the teachers and students do each and every day to be successful,” she said. “I think we are very blessed here to have parents and children that are committed to being successful learners. They all know the importance of education, and they work very hard each day to achieve their goals.”
Fralick, who has been the school’s principal for 17 years, said she was “absolutely thrilled” when she learned the school was receiving the national honor.
“Receiving the Blue Ribbon Award gives us verification that what we are doing and have been doing is right,” she said. “It lets us know that everyone has been working in the right direction.”
The school’s success is attributed to its students’ “loving to learn,” Fralick said.
“As long as we keep our focus on our students knowing that they need to be committed to being learners and that they are responsible for their own success, then I think we will continue to keep improving every year.”
T.S. Cooley is an A-plus school and has a performance score of 153.1.
Claudia Kennedy, the parent of a fifth-grade student at T.S. Cooley, said the award is “wonderful recognition because teachers at Cooley work very hard to make sure that students are educated in every area.”
“Teachers here involve parents with the information they need to help students beyond the classroom at home,” she said. “I think this is a huge component in helping the school achieve its goals. We, as parents, are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of our child’s education.”
Kennedy said she will “greatly miss” T.S. Cooley but is “confident in my child moving into middle school with everything he needs to be successful there as well.”
Katheryn Cormier, mother of a fourth-grader, said she was “ecstatic” about the school receiving the honor.
“The children love to come to school here, and the teachers give 110 percent,” Cormier said. “The teachers are dedicated and the children are dedicated. It’s wonderful that they are being recognized for the great things they are doing.”
Fifth-grade teacher Kristen Orndoff said it’s “refreshing to see students and teachers recognized in a positive light.”
“When students work this hard and they aren’t recognized, it kind of makes them feel not so great about how well they are doing on tests, and they really do a fantastic job,” she said. “Being able to receive this award and having the faculty do a really great job just shows that hard work does pay off, and there is recognition, which is always a good feeling.”
Orndoff, who has been teaching at Cooley for 12 years, said the school’s strong rigor and teachers expecting a lot from students can be attributed to the school’s success.
“We make sure that every single second of the day is used and our teachers teach almost a grade level above the grade students are in,” she said. “We do a lot of project-based activities and hands-on learning that goes above and beyond our curriculum, and our students work really hard.”
Claiborne Fundamental Elementary Magnet School and Oak Park Microsociety Elementary School in Caddo Parish also received the national award, as well as Gretna No. 2 Academy for Advanced Studies in Jefferson Parish, and McKinley Middle Magnet School in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Posted By: Ginger Young On: 9/17/2012
Title: Incorrect facts
I believe that Vincent Settlement Elementary School in Calcasieu Parish was a Blue Ribbon School a few years ago, and this is a school that has students who live in the area, not those who must test at a certain level to even be accepted, as T.S. Cooley does. I can't remember their picture being on the front page. Kudos to T.S. Cooley, but let's give equal recognition to all schools when they excel.