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Central Plains designated a National Blue Ribbon School
icy main Jan. 2020
Ice on Main Street Great Bend, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. - photo by Daniel Kiewel

TOPEKA — Six Kansas schools have been designated 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Thursday. Central Plains Elementary School in Holyrood, part of Central Plains Unified School District 112, was among the award winners.

The award is based on a school’s overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups, according to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools.

There were 362 schools across the country designated as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education said. The other Kansas schools receiving the designation are Clear Creek Elementary School, De Soto USD 232; Corinth Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512; Kathryn O’Loughlin McCarthy Elementary School, Hays USD 489; Lakewood Elementary School, Blue Valley USD 229; and Holy Rosary-Wea Catholic School in Bucyrus.

“These six schools represent the great things happening in Kansas’ classrooms,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “We want to recognize and honor these schools for the work they are doing in preparing our students to be successful Kansans.”

The Blue Ribbon program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools in one of two performance categories: Exemplary High Performing and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing.

In the high-performing category, schools are recognized for being among the state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students. Central Plains Elementary was recognized as an Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing School. Clear Creek, Corinth, Kathryn O’Loughlin McCarthy and Lakewood were recognized as Exemplary High Performing Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education 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. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. Up to 420 public and private schools may be nominated each year.

The program is in its 37th year and has bestowed the award on more than 9,000 schools. The Department will formally recognize the 312 public and 50 private schools at an awards ceremony Nov. 14-15, 2019, in Washington, D.C.