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Graham Elementary School Earns 2012 National Blue Riboon School Recognition

Austin, TX—The Austin Independent School District's Graham Elementary School has earned the prestigious recognition of being named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Graham is the only Central Texas school—and among only 20 schools in the state—recognized for overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.

"Graham is setting and meeting the highest educational standards, locally and nationally," Meria Carstarphen, AISD superintendent, said. "Our teachers, students and families have come together to create a results-driven community, which is focused on realizing the potential of every child. I am so proud of our teachers' hard work and their dedication to ensuring all students are prepared for college, career and life."

The Department of Education has honored Graham as an "Exemplary Improving" school. The classification recognizes schools, where at least 40 percent of students are from disadvantaged communities, that demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels.

"We have been fortunate to have consistently produced stellar academic results at Graham," Principal Blaine Helwig said. "Being selected for this award is both humbling and a culmination of our dedication toward improving students' lives."

The Texas Education Agency rated Graham as an exemplary school in 2011 and the campus earned gold performance acknowledgements for commended performance in reading, writing, mathematics and science. Last year, Helwig was a finalist for H-E-B's statewide, outstanding principal award and a finalist for AISD's principal of the year award.

The Department of Education will honor all National Blue Ribbon Schools during a recognition ceremony Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.