SOUTH FORSYTH — An elementary school in Forsyth County is one of nine in Georgia that were named 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools this week by the U.S. Department of Education.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used the distinction to recognize schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups, demonstrating all students can achieve to high levels.
Johns Creek Elementary School did just that.
The award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students either achieve high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap, according to the department.
“This honor recognizes your students’ accomplishments and the hard work and dedication that went into their success,” Duncan said in a video message to the recipients. “Your journey has taught you collaboration, intentional instruction and strong relationships in school and with your community.
“You represent excellence — in vision, in implementation and in results — and we want to learn as much as we can from you.”
The two performance categories are based on all student scores, subgroup student 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.
Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels, according to information provided by Forsyth County Schools.
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. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are at high levels.
“What an amazing honor and privilege it is for Johns Creek Elementary School to be named as one of the nation’s 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools,” said Alyssa Degliumberto, principal at the school off Old Atlanta Road near McGinnis Ferry Road.
“We are so proud that the dedication and hard work of our students, staff and parents is being recognized on a national level.”
The U.S. education department will honor 285 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 9-10 in Washington, D.C.
In its 33-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on more than 8,000 of America’s schools.
Current National Blue Ribbon Schools in Forsyth County include Big Creek and Daves Creek Elementary and Otwell and South Forsyth middle schools.
Nominations are accepted from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education.
A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of kindergarten through 12thgrade students and schools in each jurisdiction. Nominated schools must submit an application for possible recognition.
“I commend these eight [public] schools for their outstanding student performance,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We have many schools that are doing a great job preparing students for a bright future, but these schools rose to the top and are very deserving of this recognition.”