Rosa ropes in a Blue Ribbon

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Cherry Hill Sun
Secret Service agents were prowling the hallways of Rosa International Middle School, as the institution welcomed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Gov. Corzine. The two leaders met with students and administration to congratulate the school on being named a Blue Ribbon institution.
A 2007 and 2008 National School of Character, Rosa Middle was named a National Blue Ribbon School in late September. Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, and state Sen. James Beach were in attendance at the event and congratulated the school for its achievement.
According to the Department of Education, The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap.
Blue Ribbon Schools have students from all subgroups who’ve made impressive test gains or who have scored in the top tier on state tests.
According to the district, only nine state schools are designated as Blue Ribbon Schools and only 314 nationwide.
“It’s pretty amazing. We have over 95,000 schools in the country and over 300 are designated as Blue Ribbon Schools,” Duncan said. “It’s obvious the partnership between the school and the parents is remarkable.”
Principal Ed Canzanese led the two leaders in a round table discussion with a group of teachers, administrators, and parents of students within the school after the Blue Ribbon presentation. Corzine lauded the school and its administrators, praising them for being one of the models that all public schools should look up to in the state.
“It’s a real compliment to all of the folks in here that you’ve been recognized as a Blue Ribbon School, one of the best in the country,” he said. “This is what people would call a traditional public school. It reflects students of all backgrounds.”
He also joked that he wished he could enroll his grandchildren into Rosa.
The Rosa staff and several parents congratulated the school as well. There’s a reason so many teachers and students want to come to the middle school, said Susan Cappuccio, a special education teacher in the school. Special education teachers and students are well integrated into the school, she said, part of one giant team.
“As a special education teacher, I’m a full member of the team here at Rosa,” she said. “You don’t find that is the case at too many other places.”
State Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy said Rosa is a model for all public schools in the state, one of the public education institutions that should be a headline for all public schools in New Jersey.
“There are places in the state where this isn’t happening, and these are the challenges we’re facing,” Davy said.