Folwell Elementary School, Saint Ansgar High School named 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools

(ABC 6 News) – The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday recognized 353 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023 which included two local schools.

Folwell Elementary School in Rochester is one of nine schools in Minnesota that is being recognized, and Saint Ansgar High School is one of five in Iowa selected.

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups on assessments.

“Two in a row is great. I’d like to make it a threepeat but it’s a super competitive award,” said Superintendent Kent Pekel of Rochester Public Schools on Folwell’s win. “Both schools are recognized for high student achievement and we’re really excited to have schools like that in the city and we’re committed to maintain that level of excellence in every school.”

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. 

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites nominations for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education. 

“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,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “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.” 

Along with Folwell Elementary, the other eight Minnesota schools named as National Blue Ribbon Schools were:

  • Argyle – Stephens-Argyle Elementary School, Stephen-Argyle Central Schools.
  • Chanhassen – Chanhassen Elementary School, Eastern Carver County Schools.
  • Eden Prairie – Oak Point Elementary School, Eden Prairie Public School District.
  • Edina – Countryside Elementary School, Edina Public School District.
  • Lake Crystal – Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Elementary School, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial School District.
  • Plymouth – Wayzata East Middle School, Wayzata Public School District.
  • Saint Paul – Nova Classical Academy Upper School, Nova Classical Academy Charter School.
  • Victoria – Holy Family Catholic High School, Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul

Other Iowa Schools receiving recognition are below:

  • East Elementary School 501 Normal College Avenue Sheldon, IA.
  • Grundy Center Middle School 1006 M Avenue Grundy Center, IA.
  • Norman Borlaug Elementary School 1000 Kennedy Parkway Coralville, IA.
  • Perry Elementary School 1600 8th Street Perry, IA.

This year represents the 40th anniversary of the National Blue Ribbon Schools program.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,700 schools.