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Eight North Carolina schools win National Blue Ribbon award

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Eight North Carolina schools were among 325 recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” Cardona said in the press release.

“I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and 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. 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 schools are recognized in one of two categories: either Exemplary High-Performing Schools or Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools.

According to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Exemplary High-Performing Schools are:

  • Brush Creek Elementary School.
  • Elkin Middle School.
  • Pearsontown Elementary School.
  • Pender Early College High School.
  • Union Elementary School.

And the Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are:

  • Blue Ridge Elementary School.
  • Sallie B. Howard Charter School.
  • Sampson Early College High School.

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt congratulated the schools in the state’s press release.

“These schools – their leaders, teachers and students – deserve our praise for creating cultures that truly support teaching and learning,” Truitt said. “They exemplify what’s best about public education in North Carolina, and I’m thrilled to see these schools recognized for their efforts.”

A North Carolina charter school was on the list: Sallie B. Howard School of Arts & Science in Wilson. A press release from the school noted that it is one of 15 charter schools in the nation to win the award this year.

Photo courtesy of Sallie B. Howard School of Arts and Science.

“We are overjoyed at the news of receiving the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School Award,” said JoAnne Woodard, the school’s executive director, in a press release.

“Our muse, Sallie Baldwin Howard, inspired a movement in us over 30 years ago to impact the lives of children and families who were under-resourced, disenfranchised, and neglected by traditional education systems. We embraced her vision and together we work to cultivate in our students a self-awareness that you are somebody, you matter, and you can be more than your circumstances say you can be.”

Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.