North Shore High School was recognized last week as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School in the Exemplary High-Performing category.
“North Shore High School is honored to be a recipient of the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award,” Principal Eric Contreras said in a statement. “This designation validates and affirms our ongoing exemplary work inside and outside our classrooms.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the 325 recognized schools across the country on Sept. 21, while on a “Return to School” road trip stop at one of the honored schools, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School in Palatine, Ill. The award is based on a school’s overall academic performance, measured by state or national assessments.
“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” Cardona said. “I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional and mental health needs.”
The Education Department honors schools in two categories, based on student scores and graduation rates. Exemplary High- Performing schools have their states’ highest graduation rates and the highest-achieving students — the top 15 percent in English and math, measured by state assessments. The other category, Exemplary Achievement Gap- Closing Schools, have made the most progress in closing achievement gaps in English and math over the past five years.
“The Blue Ribbon award is a significant achievement, made more impressive by the data collection and narrative writing that goes into the application process . . . it’s hard work,” Interim North Shore Superintendent Dr. Tom Dolan said. “I congratulate North Shore High School for this recognition.”
Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has presented roughly 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. The honorees are recognized at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., where each receives a plaque and a flag signifying its exemplary status. Contreras and other district officials will represent North Shore High in Washington.
Last year’s ceremony was livestreamed on the program’s website, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s event is scheduled for Nov. 4 and 5 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, and will include workshops, panel presentations and the awards ceremony.
“In the face of unprecedented circumstances, [educators] found creative ways to engage, care for, protect and teach our children,” Cardona said of this year’s award recipients. “Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer, and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”
“It speaks to our community’s commitment to the whole child, and personalized learning experiences aligned with our shared values,” Contreras said of North Shore High’s recognition. “This award is a validation of our dedication to the metrics that matter most: inquisitiveness, intellectual engagement, creativity, artistic pursuits, inclusion and kindness.”