Congratulations are in order for six Colorado public schools that were each named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2021.

One of the six schools awarded with the prestigious honor is North Valley Middle School in LaSalle.

North Valley, a Weld RE-1 School District school, was honored by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in recognition of its high academic outcomes and efforts to close the achievement gap among groups of students, according to a Tuesday, Sept. 21 news release from the Colorado Department of Education.

“I'm thrilled these schools are being recognized for all the hard work by students, educators, parents, and communities, especially during these tough times,” Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes said, as per the news release. “For all everyone has endured in the past year, to be recognized with such an honor is truly special."

Five other Colorado schools were named 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools, including:

    • High Peaks Elementary School, Boulder Valley School District Re-2
    • Carson Elementary School, Denver Public School District
    • McKinley-Thatcher Elementary School, Denver Public School District
    • William Roberts ECE-8 School, Denver Public School District
    • Valor Christian High School, Christian High School

“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,” Secretary Cardona said as per the news release.

“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."

According to the Colorado Department of Education, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools nationwide over the last 39 years.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes 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.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year for the prestigious award.

"In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. 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", Secretary Cardona said.

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