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December 8, 2006
Seven Florida Public Schools Receive National Blue Ribbon School Recognition
TALLAHASSEE Seven Florida public schools were recently honored as a part of the No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools (BRS) program during a Washington, D.C., ceremony. The program recognizes elementary and/or secondary schools that are academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic changes in student achievement in reading and mathematics for all students. The BRS programís purpose is threefold: identify and recognize outstanding public and private schools across the nation, make research-based effectiveness criteria available to all schools so they can assess themselves and plan for school improvement; and encourage schools to share best practices based on a common understanding of criteria related to educational success.
"I am proud that these Florida schools have been recognized for their efforts. The fundamental skills of reading and mathematics are so essential in the development of young minds. I applaud these schools for taking the extra effort to ensure their students achieve at the highest levels," said Education Commissioner John L. Winn.
The Florida public schools that received this recognition in 2005-2006 are as follows:
- William S. Talbot Elementary School, Alachua County
- Key Biscayne K-8 Center School, Miami-Dade County
- MAST Academy, Miami-Dade County
- Warfield Elementary School, Martin County
- Okaloosa Walton College Collegiate High School, Okaloosa County
- Windy Ridge School, Orange County
- Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary School, Pinellas County
Each of the winners is presented with a BRS award plaque and flag to display at \ their schools.
The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and was established in 1982 by the Secretary of Education. The program has since been redesigned to reflect the goals of higher standards and accountability of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Public and private K-12 schools in the nation, including Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and Department of Defense (DOD) dependent schools can be nominated for this recognition. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools while BIA and DOD nominate their own schools. The number of schools a state can nominate is based on the number of students and schools in the state. Nationally, the number of schools that can be nominated is capped at 413.
There are two assessment criteria that must be met to nominate a school:
- At least 40 percent of the students in the school must come from a disadvantaged background (Free or Reduced Lunch [FRL]; Title I eligible, Limited English Proficient [LEP]; or Migrant). This group of students must show dramatic improvement in Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores in both reading and mathematics for all students in the school for the most recent three years (at a 60 percent proficiency level on the FCAT or higher).
- Regardless of demographics, the school must be in the top 10 percent of schools in Florida as measured by the FCAT in both reading and mathematics for the most recent three years.
In addition, nominated schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the latest two years, including the year they are nominated.
Nationally, about 80 percent of all schools nominated make it through the application process to the recognition ceremony. There have been 5,509 schools awarded this distinction since the programís inception.