This week, the U.S. Department of Education recognized 302 public schools as 2021 National Blue Ribbon School winners. Of these public school winners, 15 of them are public charter schools. Blue Ribbon School awards are based on a school’s progress in closing the achievement gap among student groups or exceptional overall academic performance.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nina Rees released the following statement:
“The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is proud of the 15 charter schools receiving 2021 Blue Ribbon School awards. We are thrilled to once again see the charter school sector’s strong representation in this year’s cohort and applaud each school’s commitment to the Blue Ribbon award’s nationally recognized standards of excellence.”
A recent report by the National Alliance shows that hundreds of thousands of families switched to charter schools during the first full year of the COVID pandemic, signaling strong demand for new public school options. Charter school enrollment has not grown this much in a single year in half a decade. During the 2020-21 school year, the pandemic forced schools of all types to close their doors and switch to remote learning. Many families were dissatisfied with the quality of what was available to their children. And that dissatisfaction led them to learn more about the other educational options available. For many families, charter schools’ nimbleness and flexibility made them the right public school choice.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the following of the 2021 cohort of winners:
“I commend all of 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, [they] found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children.”
Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. The award recipients are selected based on state assessments (or nationally-normed tests), student scores, and student subgroup scores.
The following charter schools were recognized as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools:
Alaska: Soldotna Montessori Charter School, Soldotna
Arizona: Desert View Academy, Yuma
Elevate School, San Diego
University High School, Fresno
District of Columbia: Basis DC Public Charter School
AcadeMir Charter School Middle, Miami
Charter School of Excellence at Davie, Pembroke Pines
Somerset Academy Silver Palms, Homestead
Terrace Community Middle School, Tampa
Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans
Lake Forest Elementary School, New Orleans
Minnesota: St. Croix Preparatory Academy Middle School, Stillwater
Nevada: Pinecrest Academy of Nevada Inspirada, Henderson
New York: Icahn Charter School 3, Bronx
North Carolina: Sallie B. Howard Charter School, Wilson