Some schools in the Hudson Valley have earned top marks in 2021 by being recognized with National Blue Ribbon status.
US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced 325 schools across the country were recognized for their overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among students.
In the Hudson Valley, a pair of schools in Westchester were among those designated as National Blue Ribbon recipients:
- Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff Manor;
- Pleasantville High School in Pleasantville.
Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some receiving multiple awards.
Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year.
Each year, the US Education Department 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.
Officials said that "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.
Schools that earned the designation will be provided a flag to be flown recognizing that it has been selected as a National Blue Ribbon School flag, which "is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.”
"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. "I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs.
Cardona made note that the schools being honored did so in an unprecedented year where the country was contending with the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic, forcing districts to transition to a distance-learning model.
“In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children,” he said. “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."
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