National Blue Ribbon Schools—Learning Requires Engagement

Proud younger siblings with graduates of Lorenzo Walker Technical High School in Naples, FL – a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School

National Blue Ribbon Schools are special places, each unique to their communities, their students, their staff, and their leaders, and are producing outstanding results for all their students regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or zip code. They are closing the gaps in student achievement and, in most cases, demonstrating consistent excellence.

Each year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program visits a handful of schools to learn more about what makes these outstanding schools tick. Video profiles offer glimpses of dynamic students, teachers, and principals in action—a day in the life of a National Blue Ribbon School.

We recently featured two schools that use creative approaches to educating students. Today we are excited to share with you two more.


Featured below are two 2018 National Blue Ribbon awardees that have achieved and sustained excellence despite challenges in their pasts. These videos showcase how dedicated school leaders and teachers implemented effective strategies to improve teaching, learning and school culture, resulting in successful outcomes for students.

Evergreen Elementary School in Spanaway, WA—a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School

No Excuses showcases Evergreen Elementary School, a neighborhood Title I and former turnaround school in Spanaway, WA. Turning around a low-performing school is no easy task – and sustaining that turnaround over the years to come can be just as challenging. In this video, teachers and school leaders explain how the implementation of a “No Excuses” model helped them improve and sustain their success over the long term. By taking collective responsibility for student achievement and collaboratively providing supports to each other, students and their families, educators at Evergreen have never lost the momentum that propelled their turnaround years ago.

Lorenzo Walker Technical High School in Naples, FL—a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School

Bringing High School to College tells the story of Lorenzo Walker Technical High School, located in Naples, Florida, where students take academically rigorous classes and have the opportunity to receive professional training in 25 career programs. When the school first opened, though, enrollment was low, with students and families unsure about embracing the school’s college and career readiness framework. More than a decade later, students from diverse backgrounds travel from all over the county to attend this high performing Title I school where over 80% of students are on free and reduced lunch and over 70% speak a language other than English at home.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program features over 50 school video profiles, as well as podcasts and written descriptions showcasing stand-out practices and school features that contribute to awardees’ success. Featured practices span a wide array of content areas and grade levels, in schools representing urban, suburban and rural settings, and in both affluent and low-income neighborhoods where students are thriving.


Learn more about the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. We were pleased to  announce a new cohort of 2019 awardees on September 26.

Aba Kumi is Director of the U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Schools program.

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