2 Lowcountry schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools

Two Lowcountry schools are among five schools in South Carolina that received a national distinction for excellence.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:53 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Two Lowcountry schools are among five schools in South Carolina that received a national distinction for excellence.

The U.S. Department of Education recognized 353 schools nationwide as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups on assessments, a release from the agency states.

Mount Pleasant’s Christ Our King-Stella Maris School of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston and Coosa Elementary School in Beaufort were the Lowcountry schools receiving the honor.

“The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to Raise the Bar in education,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “The leaders, educators, and staff at our National Blue Ribbon Schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures that support students of all backgrounds to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. As the Biden-Harris Administration partners with states and schools to accelerate academic success and transform educational opportunity in this country, we take tremendous pride in the achievements of these schools and their commitment to empowering educators, serving students, and engaging families.”

The other South Carolina schools are the Ben Lippen School, a private school in Columbia; the Sterling School in Greenville and Wren Elementary School in Anderson School District 1.

The Department recognizes all schools 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.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest-performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students. Nominated schools also complete an extensive narrative application describing their school culture and philosophy, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, professional development, leadership structures, and parent and community involvement.

National Blue Ribbon Schools represent the full diversity of American schools and serve students of every background, the U.S. Department of Education said.

“National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective and innovative school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation,” a release states. “A National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing a school’s entryway or on a flagpole is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.”

The program has awarded approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,700 schools.