Two South Mississippi schools named as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:00 AM CDT
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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - More than 300 schools have been named as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, including two in South Mississippi.

Woolmarket Elementary in the Harrison County School District and East Hancock Elementary in the Hancock County School District are among 325 schools in the country to receive the prestigious honor.

In all, four schools in Mississippi were named as National Blue Ribbon Schools this year. The other two are located in Brandon and Oxford.

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

This is the second time East Hancock Elementary has been named a National Blue Ribbon School; the school previously received the honor in 2013, as well.

Last year, two of the four Mississippi schools were also on the Gulf Coast in D’Iberville and Biloxi.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recognized the 325 schools Tuesday during his Return to School Road Trip.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend all 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, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”

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 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon Schools 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.

Other schools in South Mississippi who have been nominated for this prestigious award include:

  • D’Iberville Elementary, Harrison County (2020)
  • Popps Ferry Elementary, Biloxi (2020)
  • Bayou View Elementary, Gulfport (2019)
  • Pineville Elementary, Pass Christian (2019)
  • St. Patrick Catholic High, Biloxi (2019)
  • North Bay Elementary, Biloxi (2018)
  • St. James Catholic School, Gulfport (2014)
  • DeLisle Elementary, Harrison County (2013)
  • East Hancock Elementary, Hancock County (2013)
  • Oak Park Elementary, Ocean Springs (2013)

Now in its 39th 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.

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