The National Blue Ribbon School Award goes to University Park Elementary in Casper and as it happens the school is also celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

Listen here,

Diane Weiss, is an Instructor at University Park School who's been teaching there since a turnaround began that likely brought them the award.

"The year before I came the school did not make annual yearly progress, which is measured by PAWS."

Weiss says at that point, then principal, Sally Huber took action. Weiss says part of that action was to adopt the 'Reading First' framework and she was brought on as a reading coach. She says the school was invited to apply for the award last December.

"Just getting the invitation is quite the honor. There are two categories that you qualify under and one of them is closing the achievement gap for kids that live in poverty or are minorities. The other one is just holding a highly excelling status compared to other schools and we actually did it in both."

Sally Huber former principal for 16 years at University Park has big praise for everyone at the school where they hold the motto of, 'Every student, Every day, Whatever it takes" .

"And they truly live that. It's not just something that is said. Any child, whatever they need, they will go to any means to try and get whatever they need so they can learn."

University Park was one of three schools recognized in Wyoming in 2011.

Diane Weiss, says after  she and current principal, Julie Hornby, go to Washington D.C. in November for the award ceremony, they plan to come back and have a big birthday party bash.

The Blue Ribbon Program is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.