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Five NC Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Recognition

The following is a press release from NC Public Schools

Five North Carolina public schools were named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2022 today by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. The five schools are among 297 schools nationwide recognized this year for their overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps. 

North Carolina public schools receiving this honor are: 

  • Weatherstone Elementary School, Wake County Schools
  • Seventy-First Classical Middle School, Cumberland County Schools
  • A. Bess Elementary School, Gaston County Schools
  • East Robeson Primary School, Public Schools of Robeson County
  • Southeastern Academy Charter School, Lumberton 

“I applaud all the honorees for the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award for creating vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school communities where students can learn, grow, reach their potential, and achieve their dreams,” Cardona said.  

“As our country continues to recover from the pandemic, we know that our future will only be as strong as the education we provide to all of our children,” he said. “Blue Ribbon Schools have gone above and beyond to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. These schools show what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives.” 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt congratulated North Carolina’s five recipients for responding to the challenges of the pandemic not only by keeping expectations high for students, but also ensuring the strong teaching, learning and support that students need to reach them. 

“These five schools exemplify the best of public education in North Carolina,” Truitt said. “Their entire school communities – including educators, students and parents – are helping to lead the way toward stronger schools across the state and ever better outcomes for students.” 

The coveted National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective school practices for state and district educators and other schools across the nation. 

Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has conferred approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years. In North Carolina, a total of 169 schools have been recognized as Blue Ribbon schools since the program’s inception in 1982. 

All Blue Ribbon schools are honored in one of two performance categories, 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.
  • 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.

This year, North Carolina’s five recipients were honored as Exemplary High Performing Schools. 

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Department of Education invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education. 

Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at

Read the news release from the U.S. Department of Education. 


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.