HONOLULU – Ernest Bowen deSilva Elementary, Haleiwa Elementary and Red Hill Elementary schools today were named 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools for their outstanding performance and improvement efforts. The three were among the 337 schools announced as winners by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Washington, D.C. In November, Secretary Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education will honor the schools – 287 public and 50 private – at a recognition ceremony in the nation’s capital.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of an American education — that all students, no matter their socioeconomic status or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Secretary Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”
“Congratulations to the administrators, faculty and students at E.B. deSilva, Haleiwa and Red Hill, for their commitment to high levels of academic achievement in their communities,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “These national awards affirm and elevate each school’s considerable progress in preparing students to succeed in college or careers.”
All schools are recognized 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. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels.
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. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are at high levels.
Located in Hilo on Hawaii Island, E.B. deSilva Elementary becomes the first neighbor island school to be named a Blue Ribbon School since Holualoa Elementary in Kona in 2008. Most of its students, including students from disadvantaged subgroups, meet and/or exceed standards in English language arts and math.
Along Oahu’s scenic north shore, tiny Haleiwa Elementary School has been a model of academic excellence with students routinely in the 90 percent proficiency category in math and reading. Sixty-five percent of Haleiwa’s 200 students come from economically disadvantaged homes.
The goal of Red Hill Elementary School is to develop the “whole child” academically and socially at this campus, which is serves a large number of military dependents from surrounding base housing. It is the only school of the three in Hawaii that was cited in the Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools category.
In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on close to 7,900 of America’s schools.