Riley Elementary honored as prestigious Blue Ribbon School

Riley Elementary School was named a prestigious 2011 National Blue Ribbon School in an announcement from the U.S. Department of Education Thursday morning.

“We are so honored to earn the designation of a National Blue Ribbon School,” said Riley Principal Molly Bates. “This award recognizes the hard work and achievement of our entire staff, our students and families.”

She noted that the award is unique in that it is considered the highest honor an American school can achieve, and is based on overall academic excellence and success in closing achievement gaps.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a United States government initiative created in 1981 to honor schools that have achieved high levels of performance or significant improvements with emphasis on schools serving disadvantaged students. Since 2002, to receive the national honor the State Department of Education must nominate the school.

Riley – 5021 Orchard St. – is one of only four public schools in Nebraska and one of 255 public schools in the nation to be selected for the 2011 award. The other Nebraska schools honored this year are Alma Elementary School, Falls City Senior High School and Hitchcock County Junior-Senior High School.

In past years, Blue Ribbon Schools at LPS have included: Lincoln High School, Lincoln Southeast High School, and what was once called Lincoln East Junior-Senior High School. Riley is the first LPS elementary school to receive the honor.

“America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria:

1. Schools whose students, regardless of backgrounds, are high performing. These are schools ranked among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on tests nationally-normed tests; or,

2. Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

The Blue Ribbon schools this year will be honored at an awards ceremony Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.

For more information contact Riley Principal Molly Bates, 402-436-1164.