NEWS RELEASES 2014-15 :: SEPTEMBER 29, 2014


Five North Carolina public schools today were named 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. These schools are among 287 public and 50 private schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

North Carolina public schools receiving this prestigious recognition are:

  • Briarcliff Elementary, Wake County Public Schools;
  • Caldwell Early College, Caldwell County Schools;
  • Raleigh Charter, Wake County;
  • Shoals Elementary, Surry County Schools; and
  • West Elementary, Cleveland County Schools.

“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative and challenging learning environments,” Secretary Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”

For the past 32 years, this prestigious award has been bestowed to just under 7,900 of the nation’s most successful schools. Schools selected model excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement and parental involvement.

National Blue Ribbon Schools are recognized in one of two performance categories:

  1. Exemplary High Performing Schools. Schools are among the state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates also are at the highest levels.
  2. Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools. 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.

Specifically, for the 2013-14 award year, the Department strengthened the focus of both categories’ performance criteria around subgroups within a school and improving graduation rates for all students.

State education departments nominate public schools that meet the rigorous criteria for consideration. Once all nominations are received, the U.S. Secretary of Education invites the nominated schools to submit applications 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. 10-11 in Washington, DC. They will receive a plaque and a flag signifying their National Blue Ribbon School status.

Additional information regarding the National Blue Ribbon School program is available online at

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.