- 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 subgroups and all students over the past five years.
Schools are ranked based on one year of performance in math and reading. The eligible top six schools that meet the criteria set by the National Blue Ribbon Schools are presented to a selection committee of local community members. The committee selects the top three schools to be considered for nomination of the award.
The U.S. Department of Education will formally recognize all the honored schools at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on November 14 and 15.
Hickam Elementary has met the performance award criteria for Exemplary High Performing schools and is ranked in the top 15 percent of Hawaiʻi schools in achievement in English and math. Hickam's performance has outpaced other school performance averages statewide in English Language Arts (ELA, 18 percent higher), Math (18 percent higher) and Science (19 percent higher) in School Year 2018-19. Hickam's enrollment consists of 99 percent military-dependent students and is highly transient due to military personnel movements. Understanding that one of the biggest challenges military children face is integration into new communities and schools, Hickam recently dedicated its Aloha Transition Center, the "front door" to the campus and a space that provides a feeling of belonging to the school ʻohana for any student new to the school. The student-led welcome program allows new students to focus on academics, knowing they already have friends who can empathize with their transition and support them in times of uncertainty. Hickam currently serves a student body of 566 students.
Lāʻie Elementary has also met the performance award criteria for Exemplary High Performing schools and is ranked in the top 15 percent of Hawaiʻi schools in achievement in English and math. Lāʻie's performance has outpaced other school performance averages statewide in ELA (25 percent higher), Math (30 percent higher) and Science (29 percent higher) in School Year 2018-19. Lāʻie implemented several initiatives that have been central to its success, including detailed writing goals, reading stamina goals, and a schoolwide Response to Intervention (RTI) plan. A variety of co-curricular programs are also offered to reinforce the curriculum, providing students with opportunities to excel outside of academics in art, physical education, music, dance, Hawaiian language, drawing and sports. After-school programs such as Homework Help, Math Club and Dance Club also help to improve student success. Lāʻie currently serves a student body of 638 students.
Waialua Elementary has met the performance award criteria for Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing schools and is in the top 15 percent of schools closing achievement gaps in English and math in the last three years. Since School Year 2015-16, the school has reduced the achievement gap in English by 17 percentage points and in math by 15 percentage points. Waialua's curriculum is standards-based with focused targets and clear criteria. Each classroom has a teacher and a paraprofessional tutor or part-time teacher, and the teaming allows for real-time interventions to minimize and prevent learning gaps from occurring. Teachers use effective instructional strategies, formatively assess every aspect of student learning, provide feedback based on data, and hold their students accountable for their learning. Waialua currently serves a student body of 507 students.
For more information on the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.