December 16, 2013 | 8 a.m.
By Sue Yonker, Creative Content Specialist
The elementary school formerly led by Tracy Reimer, assistant director of Bethel’s Doctor of Educational Leadership program, has been named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Annandale Elementary School is one of 286 schools nationally and seven schools in Minnesota to be awarded the honor. Reimer served as principal of Annandale Elementary from 2003-13 and had a key role in the school’s success.
During her years there, Reimer implemented regular monitoring of student progress through the RTI (response-to-intervention) model; broke down students into smaller groups in creative ways according to ability so teachers could provide targeted help; committed to lowering class sizes; and set high expectations for parent involvement. “Tracy also fought hard to devote time for research into the best practices of teaching and to instruct and demonstrate what she learned,” explains Allyson Kuehn, current Annandale Elementary principal, who worked with Reimer for eight years. “She kept herself focused as an instructional leader and became a model of what she wanted her classroom teachers to be doing.”
All of this effort paid off. The school’s MCA scores in math and reading climbed, and they have now consistently been in the top 10% in the state for several years, leading to the Minnesota Department of Education nominating the school for the award. “I am happy for the parents, students, and community,” says Reimer. “They all worked really hard. It was nice for the community to receive this recognition at the state and national level.”
Reimer’s impact will now continue as part of Bethel’s doctoral program. “The selection of Annandale Elementary School as a National Blue Ribbon School recognizes the importance of the leadership that Dr. Tracy Reimer provided over the last two decades in that community,” says Craig Paulson, director of the Doctor of Educational Leadership program. “Tracy exemplifies qualities encouraged within the Bethel University doctoral program: authenticity, intellectual flexibility, honesty, clarity, compassion, and humble confidence. As a full time Bethel University faculty member, Tracy will be able to have a broader impact as she inspires future principals and superintendents to become leaders who transform students, schools, and communities.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools program began in 1982 to recognize a state’s highest performing schools, and schools in which students have demonstrated the most progress in higher student achievement levels according to a state’s assessment process or national tests. Annandale Elementary was awarded the former award, and recognized as an Exemplary High Performing school. Reimer and two teachers from the school will accept the award at a November ceremony in Washington, D.C.