This fall, the United States Department of Education recognized ten Louisiana schools as winners of the 2020 National Blue Ribbon School awards, as reported by a Louisiana Department of Education press release. The Louisiana schools receiving this monumental honor are located in East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Natchitoches, St. Martin, St. Tammany, and Vermillion parishes.
Since 1982 the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes both private and public elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States for their overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. This program is a part of the U.S. Department of Education, and as this is their 38th year recognizing schools, the organization has bestowed nearly 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. Schools become eligible for awards after operating for five years, and to earn an award is an industry standard of greatness in that it signals that school for displaying evidence of exemplary teaching and collaboration among students, educators, families, and entire communities.
In 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos recognized 367 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools. While presenting the nominated schools with this honor, Secretary Devos remarked on the prestige of the award by saying, “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”
The two performance categories in which the schools are recognized are:
- “Exemplary High Performing Schools,” which are among a state’s highest-performing institutions when measured by state-issued assessment performance or nationally-normed test achievement. The Louisiana public schools receiving this honor include:
- Erath High School, Vermilion Parish
- Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, Natchitoches Parish
- Metairie Academy for Advanced Studies, Jefferson Parish
- “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools,” which are among a state’s highest performing in closing “achievement gaps” between a school’s low-achieving students groups and all students. The Louisiana public schools receiving this honor include:
- Forked Island – E. Broussard Elementary School, Vermilion Parish
- Indian Bayou Elementary School, Vermilion Parish
- Stephensville Elementary School, Martin Parish
Additionally, four nonpublic Louisiana schools receiving the program’s national honor are:
- Catholic High School, East Baton Rouge Parish
- Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic School, Tammany Parish
- Jude the Apostle School, East Baton Rouge Parish
- Thomas More Catholic High School, Lafayette Parish
Each year up to 420 schools may be nominated with the U.S. The Education Department inviting National Blue Ribbon School nominations from top school officials in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education; the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools.
With Louisiana receiving so many honors for its schools across the state, the Louisiana Superintendent of Education,Dr. Cade Brumley remarked, “This national honor speaks to the high expectations and student-first cultures you will find at all of these schools. I’m proud to have them represent Louisiana and congratulate them on this remarkable accomplishment.”
The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually on November 12th and 13th with the United States Department of Education celebrating the total 317 public and 50 nonpublic school honorees via the virtual awards and by mailing out the traditional plaques and flags to recipient schools via mail.
Profiles on all of the 2020 award recipients can be accessed on the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program site as well as a historic database of all National Blue Ribbon Schools from present day to the program’s first year, 1982.
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