October 26, 2006

Governor Rendell Applauds Pennsylvania’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ Schools

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today commended eight Pennsylvania schools named "2006 Blue Ribbon Schools" by the U.S. Department of Education. Blue Ribbon honors are bestowed upon schools that have demonstrated academic excellence or have narrowed the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.

"I applaud each of our schools for being recognized for their academic excellence," the Governor said. "These schools embody the high standards and accountability for all students set forth by No Child Left Behind. Their outstanding performance truly deserves this honor."

The "No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon Schools Program" singles out public and private K-12 schools for either their academic superiority or because they have demonstrated significant gains in disadvantaged student performance in reading and math.

This year, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced 281 Blue Ribbon schools nationwide.

"These schools are making great strides toward closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their peers," said Secretary of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak. "Pennsylvania is seeing significant improvement in struggling student subgroups since Governor Rendell made it a priority to help academically struggling schools and students through extraordinary investments in tutoring supports, smaller class sizes and teacher training."

   Eligible schools must meet either of the following criterion:    -- At least 40 percent of a school's students come from disadvantaged      backgrounds, and the school must dramatically increase their      performance on state assessments in at least the past three years.      Disadvantaged students are those who are eligible for free or reduced-      price meals at school, are migrant, have limited English proficiency,      or receive services because they are from low-income families.   -- The school scores in the top 10 percent on state annual reading and      math assessments in at least the last year tested (and in at least the      highest grade tested), regardless of the school's demographics.   

States nominate eligible public schools to the U.S. Secretary of Education in February (one-third of which must have at least 40 percent disadvantaged student populations) while the Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. After being nominated, each school must submit an application for recognition to the U.S. Department of Education.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program began in 2002 after implementation of the landmark No Child Left Behind education law in 2001. The 2006 Blue Ribbon Schools will be honored on Nov. 9-10 at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. More information and the full list of national winners is available at http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/awards.html.

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us/.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Attached is the list of Pennsylvania's 2006 NCLB-Blue Ribbon Schools.

   -- A.L. Wilson Elementary School - Fairchance   -- Bart-Colerain Elementary School - Christiana   -- James H. Metzgar Elementary School - New Alexandria   -- Jeannette McKee Elementary School - Jeannette   -- Joseph E. Hill/Sampson L. Freedman Middle School - Philadelphia   -- Our Lady of Mount Carmel School - Doylestown   -- Saint Genevieve School - Flourtown   -- South Fayette Middle School - McDonald    CONTACT:   Kate Philips   Pennsylvania Office of the Governor   717-783-1116    Michael Storm, PDE   717-783-9802  

Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

CONTACT: Kate Philips, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor,+1-717-783-1116; or Michael Storm, PDE, +1-717-783-9802

Web site: http://www.state.pa.us/http://www.governor.state.pa.us/http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/awards.html