Five Nebraska schools have been honored as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools, an annual award from the U.S. Department of Education.
Each year, the department recognizes public and private schools for overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
The Nebraska honorees announced Tuesday are:
Fort Calhoun Jr.-Sr. High School, Fort Calhoun Community Schools, Fort Calhoun.
Swanson Elementary School, Westside Community Schools, Omaha.
Lux Middle School, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln.
Sagewood Elementary School, Elkhorn Public Schools, Omaha.
St. Robert Bellarmine School, Archdiocese of Omaha Catholic Schools, Omaha.
Swanson Principal Jennifer Harr said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this honor.”
“We work every day to ensure when children come to school they feel loved and are happy, and that they are supported in every way possible to reach their full potential,” Harr said.
The schools are among 325 schools recognized nationally.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said Blue Ribbon Schools can serve as a model for other schools and communities.
“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,” Cardona said. “In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect and teach our children.”
The program, in its 39th year, has honored a total of more than 9,000 schools.
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.
“The five Nebraska honorees are examples to us all of what can be achieved with hard work and determination,” said Nebraska Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt. “These schools demonstrate what it takes to serve all students and work towards closing achievement gaps to ensure equitable opportunity to succeed and to be college, career and civic ready.”
Public school districts in the Omaha metro area
Bellevue Public Schools
Bennington Public Schools
Douglas County West Community Schools
Elkhorn Public Schools
Fort Calhoun Community Schools
Gretna Public Schools
Millard Public Schools
Omaha Public Schools
Papillion La Vista Community Schools
Ralston Public Schools
Westside Community Schools