Blue Ribbon 2015


First Presbyterian Day School is proud to announce that the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has awarded FPD’s Elementary School a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School for Exemplary High Performance. This prestigious award places FPD’s Elementary School among the top elementary schools in the United States. In order for a private school to win the award, the students must perform at the top 15% in the nation on math and reading comprehension standardized tests.

Watch the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

FPD’s Elementary School is the only private school in Georgia to receive this award in 2015 and one of only 50 private schools nationally. It is the third time FPD has received the award. FPD’s Elementary School won in 2003, followed by the Middle School in 2012. The USDOE allows schools to be nominated every five years, but priority is given to schools who have not received the award.

After receiving the nomination, FPD’s elementary program was evaluated by the USDOE on the following areas.

  • The school’s overall curriculum and learning standards, particularly
    • Core curriculum – Mathematics, reading and language arts, science, social studies and history
    • Pre-school program
    • Other curriculum areas
  • Instructional methods and interventions
  • The school’s use of assessment results
  • How the school engages families and community
  • School climate and culture
  • Professional development
  • How the school shares success with other schools
  • School leadership
  • Financial and demographic data

Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Ribbons Schools

What is the National Blue Ribbon School Program?
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a program of the U.S. Department of Education and has honored America’s most successful public and private elementary, middle, and high schools since 1982. Since 2003, the program has recognized exemplary schools in two categories. (1) Exemplary High Performing – Schools where students achieve at very high levels and (2) Schools that have shown substantial improvement with high poverty populations or have narrowed subgroup achievement gaps.

Since FPD won in the Exemplary High Performing category, the rest of these answers will focus on that category.

Private vs. Public Blue Ribbon Award for Exemplary High Performance?
For private schools to be eligible for a blue ribbon for exemplary high performance, students in each grade level must perform in the top 15% nationally on standardized tests. For public schools to be eligible, students must perform in the top 15% in the state on standardized tests.

How does a school become eligible for consideration?
In high performing schools, standardized test performance in each grade on mathematics and reading must place the school among the top 15% of schools nationally for private schools and in the state for public schools (the standard was 10% in 2003-2010). School divisions within K-12 schools may be considered separately as long as each division has a separate administrator. Schools must also be regionally accredited, have at least 100 students, and meet various other criteria.

Who nominates schools?
The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. CAPE may nominate up to 50 private schools nationally. The USDOE allows schools to be nominated again after 5 years. CAPE, however, gives priority to schools who have not received the award.

How many schools are nominated and how many are granted the designation each year?
Each state is limited to a set number of public school nominations based on student population. CAPE may nominate up to 50 private schools nationally. A total of 417 schools may be nominated. There is no set number of awardees, but the total has ranged from 250 to 350 in recent years.

What Middle Georgia schools have earned Blue Ribbon School status?
Exemplary High Performing Private Schools
First Presbyterian Day School – Elementary, 2015
First Presbyterian Day School – Middle School, 2012
First Presbyterian Day School – Elementary School, 2003

Exemplary High Performing Public Schools
Alexander II Magnet School, 2015

Exemplary Improving/Achievement Gap Closing Schools
Shirley Hills Elementary School, 2011
Alexander II Magnet School, 2006

Previous Program (1982-2002)
Centerville Elementary School, 1999
Linwood Elementary School (Robins AFB), 1999
Houston County High School, 1996
Mount de Sales Academy, 1991
Warner Robins High School, 1991
Southside Elementary School (Milledgeville), 1986

Can schools earn the designation multiple times?
The USDOE allows schools to be nominated again after 5 years. CAPE, however, gives priority to schools who have not received the award or are in the impoverished population category since there are a large number of private schools in the top 15% nationally and only 50 may be nominated. Once awarded, schools may continue to use the designation indicating the year the award was earned. In K-12 schools (as is the case with FPD), divisions may be considered separately as long as the school has separate administrators for each division and it is clear to the public which division is being recognized by the award.

Where can I learn more about the National Blue Ribbon School Program?
US Department of Education                        

Council for American Private Education    

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