National Blue Ribbon Award and Process

Since 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Award is the highest award bestowed to schools by the United States Department of Education. Recognition such as this can bring welcomed and deserved attention to schools and go a long way to enhance marketing efforts.

As stated on the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) website, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. More than 7,500 schools across the country have been presented with this coveted award. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. National Blue Ribbon Schools are honored each fall at a recognition ceremony in Washington, DC. The applications from the award-winning schools are posted on the US Department of Education website.

The 2021 application cycle will begin in the Fall of 2020. The eligibility criteria, application, and timeline are still being finalized; however, we have determined that due to the impact of COVID-19 on Spring 2020 standardized testing, schools may use norm referenced test results from any of the following testing periods in order to qualify: Spring 2019, Fall/Winter 2019, Spring 2020, and Fall 2020. Schools must submit test scores from the same testing period for all tested grades 3 and higher.


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