Educational Excellence in Action: the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools

Just before the government shutdown, I took part in a very special day. I had the honor of announcing the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools. I’ve often said that the best ideas in education will always come from the local level, and these schools exemplify that. The 286 schools—210 elementary schools, 22 middle schools, 53 high schools, and one K–12 school— represent promising ideas in many different settings, from remote rural areas to the hearts of our major cities, from prosperous neighborhoods, as well as neighborhoods combatting poverty. They demonstrate that with great teaching, great principals, hard work, and community support, every child can receive a world-class education.

Lake Forest Elementary, New Orleans

A student at Lake Forest Elementary, New Orleans. One of 286 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

These 286 schools are powerful examples of vision and commitment in the service of America’s children. They are safe yet stimulating environments where all students are valued and held to high standards. Our challenge as a country is to take to scale what’s working, and the National Blue Ribbon Schools offer a golden opportunity to do that.

This year, we have captured some of their successes in a series of one-page profiles. I invite you to learn more about the great work being accomplished by these schools around the country. Here are a few brief samples of what you will find:

  • “Through embedding strategies for how to learn into the core content standards of what to learn, students who were once considered at risk demographically become scholars and college graduates.” Akron Early College High School, Akron, Ohio
  • “As the cornerstone of our ongoing success, we relentlessly follow the fundamental steps for improvement: analyze, evaluate, discuss, research, plan a course of action, apply, and begin again.” Okatie Elementary School, Okatie, SC
  • “Children explore and investigate using critical thinking skills. Special instructional days, Super Science, Mighty Math, Ecological Engineering, and Multicultural Field Days, involve the entire staff and community in our themes.” Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • “We are rural, we are suburban, and we are military. This makes for a great mix and a terrific educational experience…Making student academic achievement a priority, we use observation and assessment to sculpt instruction.” Scott Elementary School, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education


  1. I am the proud parent of a Blue Ribbon School Elementary School student and I’m so proud of Wyndmere School for all the hard work and dedication it takes on EVERYONE’S behalf to accomplish such a wonderful and well deserved award!

  2. I am so proud of my school PS 221q. I am the only school secretary. Great place to work wonderful children great people.

  3. Congratulations to all of the schools being recognized. This is a true honor and an affirmation of all of the dedication and hard work that is being done on a daily basis by our amazing staff. Our teachers work as a team, long after school hours, with a great deal of love and devotion to our students and to the teaching profession. As their principal, it is a pleasure to work with these outstanding educators. Chadwick Elementary School is honored to share this achievement with the many fine educators throughout the country.

  4. We are proud and honored to be among this special group of schools recognized for excellence. Our staff is passionate about every child in our school and it shows when you enter the building. We explore new ways to increase learning for all students. We appreciate the partnerships that we develop with our parents and the community. I look forward to meeting with all of you in Washington D.C. Next week.

  5. Congratulations to the Board, Staff, and Community of the Tidioute Charter School for being named a 2013 BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL. Dr. Allen, CEO

  6. Congrats to the staff and students of laboratory charter in Philadelphia pa. The National Blue Ribbon Award is truly overdue and well deserved

  7. Congratulations to all of the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools! As the Vice Principal of Valley Christian Junior High School in California, I am extremely blessed to work in a school that supports the quest for excellence in all aspects of education. We are a school of outstanding educators, students who challenge us, and parents who support us in constant prayer.

  8. Aquinas Middle School is honored to be recognized as a Blue Ribbon School. It is a privilege to work with such dedicated and harworking students, families and teachers. This is a wonderful recognition and celebrates all that we strive to do each day at Aquinas Middle School. Thank you for this great honor!

  9. As the principal of Leo Bernabi Elementary School in Spencerport NY I am proud and honored to receive this award on behalf of my school. This is truly a team effort where teachers, staff, parents, district office and the community work together to help students achieve excellence. It is a privilege to work with such amazing educators. Thank you for recognizing our efforts. We look forward to seeing you in Washington!

  10. Congratulations to Mr. Simon our Principal, all the staff and most importantly the Kids. All of you have made the community Proud.

  11. Congratulations to our fellow 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools! As Principal of Holy Family School, IN, I am extremely blessed to work with outstanding educators, students who challenge us, parents who support us, and parishioners who raise us in prayer. It is through their collective efforts that we have been included in this esteemed group of schools.

  12. Congratulations to all of the 2013 National Blue Ribbon winners! As principal of Southmoreland Elementary School in Pennsylvania, I am proud and honored to have my school as one of the recipients this year. Our school and district mission statement of “High Quality Learning for All” is evident throughout our school as teachers use the collaborative approach on curriculum, student support, and intervention and enrichment activities for our students. We believe that what we do here is important and stress that to all children to make them the most successful they can become.

  13. Congratulations to all Blue Ribbon Schools! We are proud to be among a group of schools that know that all children can succeed in a great environment with supportive people. We are so honored to receive recognition for our innovative program that is helping our students to achieve. This is truly an award that helps us show what a school can achieve with everyone working together. Our strong community partnerships, parents, students and awesome staff can be very proud.

  14. Discovery Middle School is proud to be among the small group of middle schools recognized in the United States for excellence. We also wish to congratulate all of the recipients of this prestigious award. Our staff is passionate about every child in every classroom and it shows! Student success in math, language arts, social studies, and science has been steadily improving over the past several years. We are now looking forward to the new national assessments which will ask our students to display deeper depths of knowledge and problem solving. Reading is respected in all classrooms every day at Discovery and writing is viewed as evidence of our ability to think at more complex levels. Look forward to seeing all of you in Washington, D.C. on November 18-19.

  15. Congratulations to all of the National Blue Ribbon schools!
    It is a testament to your attention to student learning, parent involvement, community support and staff effort!
    Hats off to everyone.
    As the principal of Okatie Elementary I am proud, honored and humbled by this recognition.
    A truly “owlstanding” feat! Go Okie Owls!

  16. Congratulations to all Blue Ribbon winners for 2013. The Hollis Primary School in NH is proud to be included amongst this group of winners. Through the dedication of administration, staff, parents and community support we are able to focus on the needs of each student and provide excellence in education to all. We are all so proud to be a 2013 Blue Ribbon School.

  17. Holtville High School is honored to be a part of this year’s National Blue Ribbon School Award program along with so many other outstanding schools. We have been able to accomplish this because of the hard work of our teachers and students and the great support from our community and district office. Congratulations to all of the other winners!

  18. Congratulations to all the 2013 NBRS winners. As principal of DeLisle Elementary school, I am so proud and honored to be designated a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School. Thank you to all the students, parents, teachers and staff for the dedication and heart you bring to our wonderful school. It is such a privilege to be surrounded by such hard working and enthusiastic individuals every day.

  19. As principal of St. Rose of Lima Academy in Short Hills, NJ we are proud to be a recipient of this year’s award. It is truly an acknowledgement of the collective efforts of our teachers, students and parent community. We are now challenged to keep reaching for excellence as we move forward. Congratulations to all of the award winners, see you in Washington.

  20. As Principal of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I am very proud and honored to have the school designated a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School. Since the announcement we have decorated our school with blue ribbons and even dyed the water blue in our fountain. I am looking forward to attending the Awards Ceremony and meeting the other recipients. Thank you for this honor.

  21. It is truly wonderful to have Middle Ridge Elementary School in Covington Georgia recognized as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School. It is a blessing that the Administration, Teachers and Staff have been supportive of the chidren and continue to help them work up to their potential. #NCSSBeTheBest

  22. To our fellow 2013 National Blue Ribbon Award winners…congratulations! The Meyer Academy is proud to be part of this esteemed group of leading schools from across the nation. Thank you Secretary Duncan for acknowledging and highlighting this exceptional cohort of committed schools’ pursuits of educational excellence. May we continue to go from strength to strength!

  23. Congratulations to all of those schools for achieving this lofty goal!!! It has always been a goal of our school to be a “Blue Ribbon School.” Our staff, students, and community are all so proud of this wonderful accomplishment. The effort put forth by all those involved was second to none.

  24. Panther Creek Elementary School in Nicholas County, WV, a NBRS, is a small school going quietly about the business of caring for and educating students which yields huge on academic results. Their attention to structure, detail, and setting priorities contributes to their success year after year.

  25. Congratulations to all of the Blue Ribbon winners! The achievement if always a team effort, and the collaboration produces evidence of excellence in teaching, learning, leadership and service to the community. Enjoy your accomplishments!

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