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Sterling designated 2018 National Blue Ribbon School
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TOPEKA — Six Kansas schools have been designated 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Monday, Oct. 1.

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 a total of 349 schools across the country designated as 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department of Education said.

The Kansas schools receiving the designation are Hillcrest Elementary School, Lawrence Unified School District 497; Lee Elementary School, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383; Magdalen Catholic School in Wichita; Marion Elementary School, Marion-Florence USD 408; Sterling Grade School, Sterling USD 376; and Valley Heights Elementary School, Valley Heights USD 498.

“I am extremely proud of these schools for achieving this award,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “As we continue toward our moonshot of leading the world in the success of each student, we are working hard to ensure our students are prepared for a bright and successful future. These six schools represent the great things happening in classrooms across Kansas.”

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 during the past five years.

All six Kansas schools are being recognized in the Exemplary High Performing category.

The U.S. Department of Education will formally recognize the schools at an awards ceremony Nov. 7-8 in Washington, D.C.