Performance Criteria for Non-Public Schools: Non-public schools nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award must meet the following eligibility criteria:
Exemplary High Performing Schools: "High performing" means:
- That the achievement of the school's students in the most recent year tested places the school in the top 15 percent in the nation in reading (or English language arts) and mathematics as measured by a nationally normed test or in the top 15 percent of its state as measured by a state test. If a non-public school administers both state tests and nationally normed tests, the school must be in the top 15 percent in both.
- Disaggregated results for student groups, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, must be similar to the results for all students tested.
- The graduation rate for non-public high schools must be 95% or higher in the most recent year.
What are the benefits and responsibilities of being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education?
Each year, National Blue Ribbon Schools shine under a national spotlight for all the right reasons. The award acknowledges and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for—and attaining—exemplary achievement. For many, attaining the National Blue Ribbon School award is the realization of a long-held dream.
National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models for other schools throughout the nation, and school personnel are often sought out as mentors. Their applications are posted on the U.S. Department of Education's website, and media eagerly profile recognized schools, helping the school, its district, and community gain additional exposure. Representatives from schools are honored at an annual awards ceremony held in Washington, DC. Each school receives an engraved plaque and program flag with the official seal, which signifies its status and the year of its award.