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Honoring Highland Elementary, Blue Ribbon Award-Winning School

October 14, 2010
Floor Statement
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) entered the following statement into the Congressional Record honoring Highland Elementary School, which was named a Blue Ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education. The Congresswoman then visited Highland, located in Inglewood in her district, to present the school with a framed copy of this statement and help school officials, students, and parents celebrate this distinct honor.

"MADAM SPEAKER, I rise to honor Highland Elementary School in Inglewood, California, located in my district. Highland was recently named a Blue Ribbon School by the Department of Education, a coveted award recognizing high-performing and improving schools across our country. This year, Highland shares this distinction with 304 other schools.

Highland and its teachers, administrators, staff, students, parents and community members have really been on a roll. In addition to the Blue Ribbon award, the school was also named a California Distinguished School, and is a two-time Title One Academic Achievement School and California Business School of Excellence.

I am very appreciative of the efforts by this Congress and this Administration to focus on education and the future of our young students. In my district, like many communities in urban America, test scores are below average, buildings are crumbling, and graduation rates are too low.

That is why I was so encouraged to hear about Highland's honor, because one of the two ways to qualify for the Blue Ribbon award is by having schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds improve student performance to high levels.

Improving test scores early on is crucial to getting kids on the right path to a solid education, and key to securing critical resources that will help our schools turn around.

I want to particularly honor Highland Principal Susan Ippongi and Inglewood Unified School District Superintendant Gary McHenry for their leadership and their dedication to schoolchildren in Inglewood.

I look forward to meeting with Highland representatives in November when the Blue Ribbon award-winning schools come to Washington to be formally recognized for their achievements.

I am very proud of the Highland's ability to excel over adversity, and particularly proud of the young boys and girls that are studying hard for a bright future and giving their school, their community, their city and their country a good name.

Thank you; I yield back the balance of my time."