Maʻemaʻe Elementary, Mānoa Elementary and Wheeler Middle schools have been named 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the US Department of Education. The program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The three Hawaiʻi schools were among 325 school winners nationwide announced today by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
"The prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools award recognizes and celebrates the quality and excellence of our public schools in Hawaiʻi,” Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “These types of accomplishments reflect the dedication and commitment of an entire school community. This is a proud moment for the students, teachers, staff and families of Maʻemaʻe Elementary, Mānoa Elementary and Wheeler Middle schools and I congratulate them on this well-deserved achievement.”
Public schools nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award must meet one of two performance award criteria:
Hawaiʻi’s three recognized schools met the criteria for Exemplary High Performing schools, ranking in the top 15% of Hawaiʻi schools in achievement in English and math.
Maʻemaʻe Elementary’s performance exceeded statewide averages in English language arts by over 18 percentage points and in math by 27 percentage points. A first-time National Blue Ribbon School awardee, Maʻemaʻe’s goal is for its students to be 21st century learners able to exhibit critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology. Classroom data teams monitor students’ work to help shape instructional methods that best fit students’ learning styles and needs. Maʻemaʻe was also an early adopter of the Google Suite for Education, used school wide for student on-line learning, assignments and assessments, and also for teacher, counselor and parent communications. This digital system has helped to improve an already strong foundation of parent engagement and community support to elevate students to reach new success.
Mānoa Elementary’s performance exceeded statewide averages in English language arts by over 20 percentage points and in math by 26 percentage points. Mānoa’s enrichment programs, including the gifted and talented, student government, and an award-winning robotics program have continued to engage with students while maintaining strict health and safety protocols. The Mānoa Green Tiger Robotics team earned the 2018 VEX World Championships Excellence Award and has garnered the Hawaiʻi State Championship Tournament Excellence Award for the past three consecutive years. A 1986 National Blue Ribbon School recipient, Mānoa has fostered an international friendship exchange program with the Otemon Gakuin School in Osaka, Japan, for three decades. The Mānoa Association of Parents and Teachers has provided strong support and resources since 1928 to keep parents and students engaged with the greater community.
Major Sheldon Wheeler Middle
Wheeler Middle’s performance exceeded statewide averages in English language arts and math by over 15 percentage points in the selection year. The middle school serves a student body of 705 learners with 97% of the student population coming from military-impacted families. A first-time National Blue Ribbon School recipient, Wheeler Middle attributes its academic success to its dynamic and adaptive school culture that focuses on strategically addressing the developing needs of individual students. With a highly transient military student population, Wheeler Middle prioritizes students’ social emotional well-being, placing every student in small learning groups to foster stronger teacher-student relationships, and to promote higher levels of teacher accountability and investment in individual student outcomes. Student social emotional needs are further supported through weekly CARE meetings, where students are connected to a team that monitors their individual social, emotional and behavioral competencies, linking students to school support systems when needed.
For more information on the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.