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Four Arizona Schools Win 2023 Blue Ribbon Schools Recognition By U.S. Department of Education

by Pleasant View

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education recognized 353 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups on assessments.

Four schools in Arizona were recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The recognition is based on overall academic performance or progress in closing student achievement gaps.

The schools are:

  • Gilbert – Neely Traditional Academy, Gilbert Public Schools.
  • Phoenix – Fireside Elementary School, Paradise Valley Unified School District.
  • Tucson – Senita Valley Elementary School, Vail School District.
  • Tucson – Sunrise Drive Elementary School, Catalina Foothills Unified District.

“These schools can be justifiably proud of this accomplishment because it is based on academic excellence. My top priority as Superintendent is for continuous improvement in academic achievement, and Blue Ribbon Schools demonstrate that when schools lead students into challenging themselves, they will soar academically,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said in a press release.

With its 40th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,700 schools. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for – and attaining – exemplary achievement. National Blue Ribbon Schools represent the full diversity of American schools and serve students of every background.

While awardee schools represent the diverse fabric of American schools, they also share some core elements. National Blue Ribbon School leaders articulate a vision of excellence and hold everyone to high standards. They demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning, and the schools value and support teachers and staff through meaningful professional learning. Data from many sources are used to drive instruction and every student strives for success. Families, communities, and educators work together toward common goals.

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National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective and innovative school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation. A National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing a school’s entryway or on a flagpole is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students. Nominated schools also complete an extensive narrative application describing their school culture and philosophy, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, professional development, leadership structures, and parent and community involvement.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites nominations for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

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