Burr Applauds Iredell-Statesville Schools for Winning Prestigious Baldrige Award

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr applauded Iredell-Statesville Schools for being awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest Presidential honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence. Iredell-Statesville Schools was one of three recipients of the Baldrige Award this year out of a pool of 85 applicants. The Baldrige program is managed by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

"I am very proud of Iredell-Statesville Schools for winning this award and for all the hard work the teachers, faculty, and students put forth to qualify them for this recognition," Burr said. "This is an extremely competitive award, and it speaks very highly of Iredell-Statesville Schools that they were chosen as a recipient. I am particularly proud of the work they have done to increase graduation rates. Iredell-Statesville Schools have truly set a great example for school systems across the country to follow."

With a workforce of 3,416 people and a budget of $16 million, Iredell-Statesville Schools offers a variety of courses and educational programs to meet student needs, including heterogeneously grouped classrooms, two at-risk/behavior schools, and virtual and early college settings. The system also offers dual enrollment courses in partnership with a local community college and short-term alternative site placement programs. From 2002 to 2008, student achievement rose from 55th to 9th out of North Carolina's more than 100 school districts, and their total average SAT score of 1056 in 2008 was better than the national average of 1017. Additionally, cohort graduation rates (the percentage of ninth graders who graduated from high school four years later) have steadily increased from approximately 61 percent in 2002-2003 to 81 percent in 2007-2008.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Congress expanded the program in 1999 to include education and health care organizations, and again in 2007 to include nonprofit organizations. The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. Since 1988, 75 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.