Logo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education.

From the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, shared Sept. 27:

Logo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education.

Seven North Carolina public schools were recently named 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. These schools are among 255 public and 49 private schools to be recognized for helping all students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

North Carolina public schools receiving this prestigious recognition are: Brown Summit Middle (Guilford County Schools), Collettsville School (Caldwell County Schools), Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy (Mecklenburg County), Mount Airy High (Mount Airy City Schools), Piedmont Open Middle (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), Quest Academy (Wake County) and Riverbend Elementary (Haywood County Schools).

In announcing the schools, Duncan said, “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”

For the past 29 years, this prestigious program has honored more than 6,500 of the nation’s most successful schools. Schools selected for this prestigious award model excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement and parental involvement.

National Blue Ribbon Schools are selected based on one of two assessment criteria:

  • Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; and
  • Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or, in the case of private schools, in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests.

State education departments nominate public schools that meet the rigorous criteria for consideration. Once all nominations are received, the Secretary invites the nominated schools to submit applications for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Representatives from each of these schools will be honored at a conference and awards ceremony to be held Nov. 14-15 in Washington, DC. They will receive a plaque and a flag signifying their National Blue Ribbon School status.

Additional information regarding the National Blue Ribbon School program is available online at www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools or by contacting the NCDPI’s Communications division.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 100 charter schools serving over 1.4 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state’s public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

Editor’s note: In 2010-2011, Riverbend Elementary in Haywood County made Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law by meeting all 13 of its target goals. Read Carolina Public Press’ analysis of how public schools throughout Western North Carolina fared under the federal statute’s proficiency standards.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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