National Blue Ribbon Schools Program
- What are the benefits of being recognized as National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education?
- How do schools become National Blue Ribbon Schools?
- How can my school be nominated?
- Who can I contact about the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program if I wish my school to be considered for nomination?
- Once my school is nominated and applies, what is the process and timeline for hearing if we will be recognized?
- Does National Blue Ribbon School status expire?
- Where can I find applications from previously recognized schools?
- Are there additional resources for learning about National Blue Ribbon Schools?
Each year, National Blue Ribbon Schools shine under a national spotlight for all the right reasons. The award acknowledges and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving forand attainingexemplary achievement. For many, attaining the National Blue Ribbon School award is the realization of a long-held dream.
National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models for other schools throughout the nation, and school personnel are often sought out as mentors. Their applications are posted on the U.S. Department of Education's website, and media eagerly profile recognized schools, helping the school, its district, and community gain additional exposure. Representatives from schools are honored at an annual awards ceremony held in Washington, DC. Each school receives an engraved plaque and program flag with the official seal which signifies its status and the year of its award.
Both public and private (non-public) schools are eligible for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award.
Public schools are eligible based on one of two performance criteria:
Exemplary High Performing Schools: Schools that are ranked among the state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics in at least the most recent year tested.
Exemplary Improving Schools: Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have made the most progress in improving student performance on state assessments in reading (English language arts) and mathematics in the most recent five years.
Private schools are currently eligible based on one performance criteria:
Exemplary High Performing Schools: Schools that are ranked among the nation's highest performing schools as measured by nationally normed assessments in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics in at least the most recent year tested.
Public schools are nominated by their Chief State School Officer (CSSO) to the National Blue Ribbon Schools program. The U.S. Department of Education determines how many schools may be nominated from each state based on the number of K-12 students and schools in each state. See http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/2010/eligibility-quotas.pdf for the state allocation. One-third of the schools nominated by each state must have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Each fall, once schools are nominated by the state, they are invited by the Department to apply for the award. The current National Blue Ribbon Schools application can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/applicant.html.
Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE). Additional information is on CAPE's website at http://www.capenet.org/brs.html.
Schools, both public and private, may only be nominated for the award only once within a five-year period.
If you represent a public school and believe your school qualifies, you may contact your National Blue Ribbon Schools state liaison who is affiliated with your State Department of Education. You can find names and contact information here http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/contacts.html.
While most states do nominate public schools for this prestigious award, a few choose not to participate.
If you represent a non-public school, you can contact the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) by email: email@example.com or phone (301) 916.8460.
Applications go through two rounds of review. The first screens applications for completeness, accuracy, and potential eligibility issues. If issues or errors arise at this point, the school is given a chance to explain or correct them. Applications then enter a second round of review to assure compliances with eligibility criteria.
Once both reviews are completed, public schools must meet adequate yearly progress (or AYP equivalent) for the latest round of state assessments in order to receive the National Blue Ribbon award. Because state assessment results are not typically announced until late summer just before the next school year, the Department will usually announce the winning schools in September of the year after a school's initial nomination. The ceremony takes place in mid-fall. The entire process, therefore, from initial nomination to receiving the award, takes about a year.
A school's National Blue Ribbon School status does not "expire." Once a school receives the award, they remain a National Blue Ribbon School for the year they earned the award. They can always refer to their status as a National Blue Ribbon School of that year.
You will find applications from 2003 to the present here: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/awards.html.
Please note, however, that application questions may change from year to year. While reading previous applications can be useful, prior responses may not be the best way to address the current application's questions.
To watch videos of selected schools recent years or read in-depth profiles of a select group of previous award-winning schools, click here http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.
You may contact Aba Kumi, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Director at Aba.Kumi@ed.gov.