CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three West Virginia schools have been recognized as among America’s best. Chamberlain Elementary School in Charleston, Kanawha County; Fairmont Senior High School in Marion County; and Shepherdstown Middle School in Jefferson County are among 304 schools nationwide named Thursday by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as 2010 National Blue Ribbon Schools.
The program recognizes schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap or whose students achieve at very high levels. The schools, 254 public and 50 private, will be honored Nov. 15-16 in Washington, D.C, where they will receive an award certificate in recognition of the progress they have made.
“All three of these West Virginia schools are examples of places where parents, teachers, administrators and the community have formed partnerships to help students learn to high standards,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Their hard work, dedication and commitment to improving teaching and learning can serve as models for others.”
To qualify, public schools must have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance on state tests or have students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests. Private schools must achieve in the top 10 percent in the nation on national tests to qualify.
“Our nation has a responsibility to help all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to achievement and to ensuring that students learn and succeed. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and must receive a quality education.”
More than 6,000 schools have been honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools since the program’s inception in 1982. The award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement especially among disadvantaged and minority students. The U.S. Department of Education seeks out schools to honor where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds.
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