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Smith ES earns Gold Ribbon Award from Children At Risk

Smith ES earns Gold Ribbon Award from Children At Risk
Christian Aleman-Rodriguez

Del Valle ISD’s Smith Elementary School was named the highest-ranking Gold Ribbon elementary school in Central Texas during a press conference held by the Children At Risk organization. It is the only school in Central Texas to receive the recognition this year.

The organization analyzed various metrics in formulating the awards. The methodology included student achievement, student growth, and performance relative to schools with similar demographics.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Tielle and Smith Elementary Principal Frances Maldonado were invited to participate in the press conference. Dr. Tielle highlighted the entire district’s work in supporting students to reach graduation and also be successful in their time after high school in college or a career.

“We take it upon ourselves to partner with our industry partners, community members, and our wonderful families. We are 100% committed to education, and our students are 100% committed to their own education,” Dr. Tielle said. “If you go out to meet our kids, they have grit, they have a heart that you won't always see with students. They recognize that the opportunities they give are opportunities for their future.”

Upon learning of the award, Principal Maldonado thanked Children at Risk for the recognition and shared that every single person on staff at Smith Elementary works hard, all for the benefit of the students.

“It's such an honor. I want to thank you for recognizing our hard work. It starts at the top with our amazing Superintendent, Dr. Tielle, who leads us to give it our all for our students, always reminding us that we do this for our children,” Principal Maldonado said. “I am blessed to have a strong team of passionate staff members and teachers. Everything they do is about ‘What is best for my students?’ That comes from all of us, from me, all the way to my cafeteria staff, and my custodians, and then it also comes down from Dr. Tielle, our cabinet, and our support staff at the district level. Everyone is just totally focused on what’s best for our children.”

Dr. Bob Sanborn, President and CEO of Children at Risk, commended the district for being an example to other districts.

“When we talk about Gold Ribbon schools… every single school that’s in Del Valle has the potential to be a Gold Ribbon. You’re doing the work that’s necessary. The full-day Pre-K, the focus on dual language, every little thing that seems to be needed to make sure that kids coming from low-income households are going to be successful,” Dr. Sanborn said. “Thank you very much for everything you guys are doing and serving as an example for so many districts across the state.”

Children At Risk is a nonprofit advocacy and research organization aimed at understanding and addressing the root causes of child poverty and inequality. Children at Risk awards schools in Texas to bring awareness to parents, educators, and community members to understand how their schools perform and encourage greater accountability and transparency in the Texas education system.

You can watch the full press conference at this link.