U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized Johnson Elementary School as one of 367 National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020 on Thursday. Johnson was one of only five public elementary schools in the state of Georgia which was afforded the honor.
The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. JES was previously named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2010.
“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”
“It is a great honor that JES has been named a National Blue Ribbon School for the second time in 10 years,” said FCS interim superintendent Glenn White. “This is such a testimony to the hard work of our teachers, administrators, students, parents, and their community. Go Wildcats!”
The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.
The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:
Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.
“I am extremely proud of the faculty, staff, and students of JES for achieving national recognition which highlights both hard work and commitment to excellence. JES is being recognized as one of the best schools in Georgia and the United States, and that is an outstanding accomplishment,” said JES Principal Tanya Welchel. “Parental support continues to be a contributing factor in the success of Johnson Elementary. We know all of our stakeholders will join us in acknowledging this achievement. Our back-to-school theme this year has been ‘Celebrate!’ in honor of our return to learning and growing together at JES. Being awarded as a National Blue Ribbon School gives us another monumental opportunity to CELEBRATE the Journey to Excellence at JES.”
Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Education Department 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. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).
Given the current situation regarding COVID-19, the 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually November 12th and 13th. The committee regrets not having the opportunity to celebrate in person but will celebrate the 317 public and 50 non-public school honorees in the ways that they are able, and schools will each receive their plaques and flags via mail.