Blanche Pope Elementary, Nuuanu Elementary and Waikiki Elementary schools were named 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools Tuesday for their outstanding performance and improvement efforts, according to the Hawaii State Department of Education.
The three Hawaii public schools were among 286 schools recognized under the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The prestigious award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of achievement.
"Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "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."
In November, Blanche Pope, Nuuanu and Waikiki elementary were chosen as Hawaii’s nominees for the national award because of their dramatic improvement in test scores or for achieving in the top 10 percent of schools in the state in both reading and mathematics.
All three schools are continuing to show improvements under Hawaii’s new Strive HI Performance System, which evaluates schools on key success indicators such as student achievement and growth, readiness and progress toward closing achievement gaps.
"We have seen the gains being made at these schools in our Strive HI Performance System and now this national recognition elevates their continued achievement," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "We congratulate these school communities for rallying toward excellence."
The National 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.
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. DOE requested nominations from the top education official in every state, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. Secretary Duncan invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
The U.S. DOE will honor the 236 public and 50 private 2013 National Blue Ribbon schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 18-19 in Washington, D.C. In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America's schools.
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. Hawaii’s public school system was established in 1840 by King Kamehameha III. To learn more, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.