Gottheimer Congratulates Upper Saddle River’s Edith A. Bogert Elementary for National Blue Ribbon School Award

Nov 18, 2019


Above: Gottheimer visits Edith A. Bogert Elementary School to congratulate students and faculty  on their achievement of becoming a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School, stands with (left to right) Principal Kaplan, Assemblywoman Schepisi, Mayor Minichetti, and Superintendent Siegal.

Today, Monday November 18, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer spoke to students, faculty, and families at Edith A. Bogert Elementary School in Upper Saddle River to congratulate the school on receiving one of the nation’s highest education honors, the National Blue Ribbon School award, given by the U.S. Department of Education for the school’s overall academic performance.

“Thanks to all of your hard work and what you have done, Edith A. Bogert Elementary School provides students with the perfect environment to learn, excel, and achieve great things,” Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) said today. “As you know, becoming a National Blue Ribbon school is one of the highest education honors given by the United States. It’s only fitting that it’s being pinned on this school today. This is the Superbowl of school achievement.  As the son of a school teacher, I know just how important public education is to our families and communities.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.”

Gottheimer was joined today by Edith A. Bogert Elementary School Principal Kaplan, Upper Saddle River Superintendent Siegel, Mayor Minichetti, Police Chief Rotella, Assemblywoman Schepisi, and members of Upper Saddle River’s Board of Education. 

The U.S. Department of Education recognized 362 schools nationwide as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019. Edith A. Bogert Elementary is just one of nine schools to receive this honor in the State of New Jersey this year. 

The school is honored as one of the award’s Exemplary High Performing Schools for being among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Gottheimer’s full remarks from Bogert Elementary School as prepared for delivery are below.

Thank you for inviting me here today to share in this incredible accomplishment for Upper Saddle River and all of North Jersey. Thank you Assemblywoman Schepisi for your work, and Mayor Minichetti, Chief Rotella, Superintendent Siegel, Principal Kaplan, members of the Board of Education, and all the teachers, custodial staff, administrators, and students for your continued support and leadership. 

I also want to give a big round of applause to all of the students. I was lucky enough to spend time with Superintendent Siegel and Principal Kaplan in Washington last week, on the very day they received the National Blue Ribbon School award. 

We’re gathered here this morning to celebrate Bogert Elementary School passion for academic excellence and its unparalleled commitment to our children.

Thanks to all of your hard work and what you have done, Bogert Elementary School provides students with incredible conditions to be able to learn, excel, and achieve great things. Thank you for being a team – on following the principles rooted in what Mrs. Bogert taught in the one room school house just up the street.

As you know, becoming a National Blue Ribbon school is one of the highest education honors given by the United States of America. It’s only fitting that it’s being pinned on your school today.

Edith A. Bogert Elementary is really a special place. The atmosphere that the faculty and staff have created is exemplary, where students know they have a safe space to learn and grow. The foundations that you build for students, like the six pillars of character, second step social competency classes — even yoga — are just a few of the unique examples of what sets you apart from others. 

One of New Jersey’s own, Albert Einstein, once said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think.”

I see that taking place right here. You all are learning and training your minds, with parents and families, teachers, administrators, and students all coming together to make that possible. All work together to be one of 362 — of 100,000 schools. This is the Superbowl of school achievement.

As the son of a school teacher, I know just how important public education is to our families and communities. My mother always highlighted the importance of creating strong foundations in elementary education. Like me, she would be proud of what you’ve built. 

You push to reinforce skills taught in the classroom, support small group discussions, and foster one-on-one settings.  The programs at Bogert are second to none, help build character and leadership skills, and prepare our children for middle school and beyond. In English and literature, teachers have built a curriculum that is focused not only on today’s lesson plan, but on lifelong learning. With a deep focus on STEM, your mathematics courses are rich and engaging and prepare our students for the future.

I know that teachers, children, and parents are working together to build a culture of kindness, making this school a safe environment in which students can do their best learning.

Recently, we have had an increase in bias incidents in our communities and in our schools. I’m proud that the faculty of Bogert not only understand that academic achievement is important, but also that teaching the values of kindness and inclusion are also essential to a strong education.

During your Week of Respect, for example, teachers visited every classroom to discuss and celebrate our differences, which, as you know, are our greatest strength. During your Unity Tree, students shared ways that they would help one another be kind and respectful.

You have highlighted that this year, resilience, empathy, and inclusion will be key topics that the Bogert student body will continue to discuss and address through your lessons and activities. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what makes Bogert so special. The idea that education isn’t only about grades and academic evaluation, but also about our community.

Likewise, in Congress, I’m working to support the next generation of educators, to help close the achievement gap and encourage STEM education to provide our children with the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future. At the same time, I’m working closely with our schools and local officials to address hate and division whenever we see it, and to remember how blessed we are to live in the greatest country in the world, where we can have schools like this one.  

I will continue to work with education officials right here in Upper Saddle River and all across the Fifth District to help ensure our schools are getting everything you need to support our communities and children.

Again, I want to congratulate Bogert Elementary for your incredible leadership hard work that is clearly paying off.

Like so many of our top-notch schools, and as Holly pointed out–we have the best schools in the country, you are a shining example of what our schools should be, and I know that others will follow.

Congratulations again, and I can’t wait to see the National Blue Ribbon School flag flying high, next to the American flag, for years to come.

Thank you, may God bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America. 


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