Texas Border Business
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today recognized 367 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s own Kelly-Pharr Elementary in Pharr was one of the schools recognized with this honor.
“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”
The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.
“We commend the hard work of our Kelly-Pharr students, teachers and staff and of course our parents,” said PSJA ISD Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. “To be recognized at this level takes a lot dedication and team effort. To the administrative team and Principal Trevino, congratulations for keeping learning at the forefront and ensuring every one of your students reaches their ultimate potential.”
The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:
Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.
Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. 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 (CAPE).
Since the program’s inception, PSJA ISD has had five other schools receive this honor. In the 1987-88 school year Raul Longoria Elementary was awarded the Blue Ribbon School designation. In the 1998-99 school year, Napper Elementary received this honor and in 2009 James Bowie Elementary, now McKeever Elementary was awarded. Most recently in 2018, Cesar Chavez Elementary and Carmen Anaya Elementary were awarded the prestigious designation.
The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13. While we regret not having the opportunity to celebrate in person, given the current situation regarding COVID-19, we will celebrate the 317 public and 50non-public school honorees in the ways that we are able, and they will each receive their plaques and flags via mail.