Rousseau honored as Blue Ribbon School

Rousseau Elementary School has been named a 2018 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one of only four in Nebraska and 349 nationwide.

The school in south Lincoln went through a rigorous application and review process that began more than a year ago. The school’s principal, Wendy Badje, was notified earlier this fall that Rousseau had been chosen for the honor, which designates the school as “Exemplary High Performing.” There are multiple criteria for the award, with an emphasis on state assessment scores. The Nebraska Department of Education nominated Rousseau.

But being a top-performing school is about more than assessment scores, Badje said Wednesday during a special all-school assembly to celebrate the award.

“Rousseau is not just about test scores. Over time we have built a reputation of being a positive and welcoming school,” Badje said, adding, “We want students and staff to be at Rousseau and love coming here each day.”

The assembly included performances by members of the Lincoln Southeast High School marching band and cheer squad, some of whom attended Rousseau; remarks from Badje and Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel; a video that documented a recent trip to Washington, D.C., by Badje and Assistant Principal Wendy Barry to accept the award; and another video that featured Rousseau students answering the question, “Why is Rousseau a Blue Ribbon School?”

Among their answers:

  • “Because we were not bullying and we were making good choices.”
  • “Because the kids in the school love the teachers.”
  • “Because teachers help us learn and also they are nice.”
  • “Because our students were working hard and they were listening and they weren’t goofing around when it was time to learn.”
  • “Because everybody does their best and we care about other people and we care about our teachers and we love to learn.”

Rousseau becomes the sixth LPS school to earn the Blue Ribbon designation, now in its 36th year. Other winning schools were Riley Elementary School (2011); Norwood Park Elementary School (2012); Southeast High School (1988); Lincoln East Junior and Senior High School (1983); and Lincoln High School (1983).

Rousseau students and staff wore blue ribbons on Wednesday. Those ribbons will fade over time, but they’ll wear this badge of honor for the rest of their lives.

“This is a really, really big deal,” said Superintendent Joel. “For the rest of your life, you’re going to be able to say that you were taught in one of the best schools in the country.”

Published: November 28, 2018, Updated: November 30, 2018