U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Sept. 21 recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, including nine schools in New Jersey. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Secretary Cardona made the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip, while visiting an awardee school, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Illinois.

The New Jersey schools named as National Blue Ribbon Schools were:

  • Cedar Grove – North End School, Cedar Grove Township
  • Closter – Hillside Elementary School, Closter Public School District
  • Dorothy – Weymouth Township Elementary School, Weymouth Township School District
  • Jackson – Lucy N. Holman Elementary School, Jackson School District
  • Jamesburg – John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Jamesburg Public School District
  • Madison – Torey J. Sabatini Elementary School, Madison Public School District
  • Manalapan – Wemrock Brook School, Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District
  • Old Bridge – Walter M Schirra Elementary School, Old Bridge Township
  • Scotch Plains – Academy for Information Technology, Union County Vocational-Technical School District

“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,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children.”

The 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 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year.

The department recognizes all schools 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 student groups and all students.

Brief descriptions of the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov.

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