‘Rigorous’ Turnaround At Pope El.

Blanche Pope Elementary School is up for the 2013 national No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon Schools Program awards.

The Waimanalo school, which is located on Hawaiian Homestead land on Huli Street, has an enrollment of about 250 children. It is now one of Hawaii’s three Blue Ribbon School nominees for the award, based on outstanding student achievements and dramatic improvement in test scores in reading and math.

School principal Ofelia Reed credits the school’s progress to a rigorous learning experience, a variety of co-curricular programs with outside agencies and a “culturally responsive” climate. An added advantage for the children has been strong partnerships with Target, Joyful Church, Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center, Hawaii Job Corps Center, Waimanalo Agriculture Association, Castle Foundation, Junior Achievement, University of Hawaii and Waimanalo Health Center.

Frito-Lay of Hawaii, a longtime sponsor of the Hawaii distinguished Schools Program, gave $3,000 to each winner. Other national nominees are Nuuanu and Waikiki elementary schools.

Distinguished Schools from the 2011-2012 school year received additional Frito-Lay grants of $1,000. They are Enchanted Lake, Heeia and Hokulani elementary schools.

Keolu Elementary School is one of 10 on the list of 2013 Hawaii Distinguished Schools “making significant progress.”

All awards were announced during Nov. 8 ceremonies at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballrooms.