NEWS RELEASES 2012-13 :: SEPTEMBER 11, 2012


Eight North Carolina public schools were recently named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. These schools are among 219 public and 50 private schools to be recognized for helping all students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

North Carolina public schools receiving this recognition are:

  • The Academy at Smith (Guilford County Schools) ;
  • Jamesville Middle (Martin County Schools) ;
  • Middle College at Bennett (Guilford County Schools) ;
  • Park Road Montessori (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) ;
  • Pauline Jones Elementary (Cumberland County Schools) ;
  • PSRC Early College at Robeson Community College (Robeson County Schools) ;
  • Saluda Elementary (Polk County Schools) ; and
  • Whitaker Elementary (Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools).

"These eight schools are models of excellence in teaching and learning and are part of the reason North Carolina's graduation rate is at an all-time high," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "I commend the principals, teachers, and staff whose hard work and commitment to student success helped to earn our schools such a prestigious national award."

In announcing the schools, Secretary Duncan said, "Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers.  Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future."

The National Blue Ribbon Schools 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.  For the past 30 years, this prestigious program has honored nearly 7,000 of the nation's most successful schools.

The 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 Department requests nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School

Representatives from each of these schools will be honored at a conference and awards ceremony to be held Nov. 12-13 in Washington, DC. They will receive a plaque and a flag signifying their National Blue Ribbon School status.

Additional program information is available online at National Blue Ribbon School or by contacting the NCDPI's Communications division.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.