In a prestigious announcement on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education awarded 353 schools across the nation with the National Blue Ribbon Schools recognition for 2023. This esteemed honor is attributed to schools demonstrating superior academic performance or those that have made remarkable progress in diminishing achievement disparities among various student groups.
Among the illustrious group of awardees, four schools from Nebraska have been distinguished for their exceptional commitment to academic excellence. The schools are Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary School in Omaha, Dodge Elementary School in Dodge, both Pender High School and Pender Elementary School in Pender, and Reeder Elementary School in Gretna.
Speaking about the recognized institutions, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona commented, “The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to Raise the Bar in education.” Cardona emphasized the immense dedication and motivation demonstrated by the educators, staff, and leaders in these institutions, and their unyielding commitment to shaping an inclusive academic environment. He continued, “As the Biden-Harris Administration collaborates with states and schools to reinvigorate academic success and revolutionize educational opportunities in this country, we are immensely proud of the feats achieved by these schools. Their unwavering commitment to education serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all.”
Celebrating its 40th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has a long-standing tradition of recognizing academic excellence. It has conferred roughly 10,000 awards, recognizing more than 9,700 schools over the years. This recognition is not just a token of appreciation; it acts as a validation of the unyielding efforts of students, educators, communities, and families in achieving unparalleled academic heights.
A notable aspect of the National Blue Ribbon Schools is their diverse representation, encompassing the vast spectrum of American educational establishments, catering to students from varied backgrounds. Despite their diversity, there is a common thread that binds them – their unwavering commitment to excellence. These institutions epitomize effective and innovative learning practices. They harness data to refine instruction techniques, aim for unceasing success for each student, and cultivate an environment where families, communities, and educators work synergistically.
It’s worth noting that these Blue Ribbon Schools emerge as paragons of instructional innovation, serving as role models for other institutions nationwide. The National Blue Ribbon School flag, a recognized emblem of unparalleled teaching and learning, adorns the premises of these institutions as a testament to their commitment and success.
Schools that receive this recognition fall into one of two performance categories:
- Exemplary High-Performing Schools: These schools rank amongst the state’s top-tier when evaluated based on state assessments or nationally standardized tests.
- Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools: These institutions are lauded for their remarkable efforts in narrowing the achievement disparities between different student groups.
Furthermore, schools nominated for this honor undergo a comprehensive application process where they delineate various aspects such as school culture, curriculum, assessments, instructional methodologies, leadership paradigms, professional development, and community engagement.
Each year, up to 420 schools have the potential to be nominated for this accolade. Nominations are extended by top education officials from every state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Additionally, private schools receive nominations through the Council for American Private Education.
This announcement underscores the relentless commitment of educators and institutions in fostering an environment of excellence, innovation, and inclusivity in the educational realm.