Three Delaware schools are among 286 schools nationwide that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized today as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement.
The Charter School of Wilmington in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, Frear Elementary School in the Caesar Rodney School District and Shields Elementary School in the Cape Henlopen School District are among the 236 public and 50 private schools that will be honored at an awards ceremony Nov. 18 to 19 in Washington, D.C. The schools' principals -- Charles Baldwin and Samuel Paoli (Charter School of Wilmington), Tara Faircloth (Allen Frear) and Jennifer Nauman (Richard A. Shields) -- will be invited to attend the national awards ceremony with a teacher representative from each of their schools.
"Congratulations to the educators, students and families whose hard work is being recognized nationally today," Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. "As we work together across the state to ensure every child graduates from our public schools with the skills and knowledge he or she needs to be ready for college and career, we can learn from these examples of success."
The award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant improvements are being made in students' levels of achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students. Each year since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds. In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America's schools.
"Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers," Duncan said. "National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education."
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is "Exemplary High Performing," in which schools are recognized among their state's highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is "Exemplary Improving," in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.