Yesterday, we exhorted those who enjoy a good old-fashioned community festival to visit Tidioute this weekend.
Today, we suggest that if you go, you doff your fishing hat to the Tidioute Community Charter School.
The school was established less than a decade ago in the face of adversity; the Tidioute High School had been closed by the Warren County School Board, and Tidioute students were sent off to Youngsville High School.
The community pulled itself up by its bootstraps, completed the mammoth job of applying for a charter, campaigned for its approval by the school board, and then essentially started its own school district, since the Tidioute Community Charter School covers kindergarten through 12th grade.
That the school survives in a rural town with only about 800 residents is an accomplishment in itself. That it is apparently excelling academically is a singular achievement worthy of praise.
This week, the school administration learned that TCCS had been named a Blue Ribbon institution by the U.S. Department of Education, an honor earned by less than 1 percent of all public schools in the nation.
The Department of Education's National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes educational institutions in two categories: "Exemplary High Performing" and "Exemplary Improving," in which schools have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and demonstrate the most progress as measured by state assessments and national testing. Tidioute was selected in the second category.
This means more than the Adequate Yearly Progress paradigm under the No Child Left Behind federal mandate.
This is special.
It means that despite adversity, despite socio-economic factors that a school cannot adjust, a school has managed to customize and manipulate its program to fit the needs of students who may face some of the most difficult challenges to learning.
No, Tidioute isn't just about fishing and having a good time.
It's about nurturing, teaching and enriching its children.