(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The U. S. Department of Education (USED) has named four Kentucky public schools as 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence.

The four Kentucky schools and their districts are:

  • Beechwood Elementary, Beechwood Independent
  • Bush Elementary, Laurel County
  • Murray High School, Murray Independent
  • The School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Fayette County

The Kentucky schools are among the 335 public and private, elementary, middle and high schools across the country recognized this year. There also are seven private schools in Kentucky named as part of the 2015 cohort of Blue Ribbon Schools.

In its 33-year history, the national Blue Ribbon Schools program has become a trademark of excellence and a symbol of exemplary teaching and learning recognized by everyone from parents to policymakers.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Various student group performance and high school graduation rates also are at the highest levels.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students over the past five years. Student group performance and high school graduation rates for each group are at high levels.

“Kentucky’s Blue Ribbon Schools are great examples of what happens when effective teaching, engaged student learning, exemplary programs, collaboration and strong relationships in the school and with the community work together for the benefit of all children,” said Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown. “These schools represent excellence and are models for those in the rest of the state. They demonstrate that all students can achieve at high levels.”

Representatives from each of Kentucky’s Blue Ribbon Schools will join those from other states at a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 9-10.

Since USED revamped the Blue Ribbon program in 2003, 53 Kentucky public schools have been designated Blue Ribbon Schools with more than 80 public schools named Blue Ribbon Schools over the life of the program. More information on the program and a list of past Kentucky winners are available at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.