The OC campuses were among 325 schools from across the United States that were granted the prestigious designation based on overall academic performance or their progress in closing achievement gaps. Only 28 schools earned the honor in California, meaning Orange County accounts for 25 percent of the state’s Blue Ribbons.
“Orange County is producing a generation of scholars and setting a new standard for excellence by making a commitment to supporting the academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs of all students,” Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares said Tuesday. “To represent a quarter of California’s Blue Ribbon award-winners is nothing short of astonishing, and we couldn’t be prouder of the educators, students, families and local stakeholders who made this possible.”
Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program was established to honor the work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Over the years, about 10,000 awards have been presented to more than 9,000 top-ranked schools.
Cardona, the U.S. education secretary, commended this year’s honorees for keeping students safe while meeting their academic, social-emotional and mental health needs.
“In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children,” Cardona said. “Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”
The current version of the program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories: Exemplary High-Performing Schools are the highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among the best at closing achievement gaps between student groups.
Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year from the top education officials in each state and, in the case of private schools, the Council for American Private Education.