(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The U. S. Department of Education (USED) named four Kentucky public schools as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence.

The four Kentucky schools and their districts are:

  • Ezel Elementary – Morgan Co.
  • Graves Central Elementary – Graves Co.
  • Norton Elementary – Jefferson Co.
  • Rich Pond Elementary – Warren Co.

The Kentucky schools are among the 342 public and private, elementary, middle and high schools across the country recognized this year. There also are five private schools in Kentucky named as part of the 2017 cohort of Blue Ribbon Schools.

In its 35-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 school success in the Commonwealth,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said. “These schools are models for others across Kentucky and serve as proof of what can happen when schools create a culture of high expectations for students and staff, encourage excellent teaching, support the learning needs of each child and adopt a mindset of continuous improvement.”

“For the Blue Ribbon winners, this award affirms the hard work of their educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master rigorous and engaging content and leave prepared for success at the next level,” Pruitt said.

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. 6-7.

More information on the program and a list of past Kentucky winners are available on the USED website.