Upstate schools make ‘National Blue Ribbon’ list

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Thursday that A. J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering in Greenville, St. Mary’s Catholic School in Greenville, and Chapman High School in Inman are among the 367 National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020.

The recognition is based on the school’s overall academic excellence or its progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary DeVos. “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 coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.  

Greenville County Schools has 15 previous National Blue Ribbon Schools winners. They are Augusta Circle Elementary, Baker’s Chapel Elementary, Bethel Elementary (1996 and 2016), Brushy Creek Elementary, Buena Vista Elementary, Hillcrest Middle, League Academy, Mauldin High, Mitchell Road Elementary, Oakview Elementary (2000 and 2006), Pelham Road Elementary, Skyland Elementary, Taylors Elementary, Tigerville Elementary, and Wade Hampton High.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The National Blue Ribbon Schools flag gracing a school’s building is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. National Blue Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and a model for schools still striving for excellence.

The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup 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 subgroups and all students over the past five years.

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