The Colorado Department of Education announced September 26th that Lois Lenski Elementary School was one of five Colorado schools named by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School, recognizing their high academic outcomes and efforts to close the achievement gap among student subgroups.
This is the third Blue Ribbon Award for Lenski, having received it in 1999 and 2013. “Parents and staff work very hard to meet the needs of all Lenski students; socially, emotionally and academically. We are very proud to be recognized nationally,” said Dr. Barb DeSpain, Principal at Lenski.
The Colorado Department of Education also ranks Lenski among the highest-performing public schools in the state and has awarded Lenski the John Irwin School of Excellence award eight consecutive times. In 2004, the American Library Association awarded the Lenski media center National Library of the Year. The school is named after the renowned author of the same name, an illustrator of children’s and young adult literature.
The Colorado schools awarded Blue Ribbon status are:
Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes noted, “We celebrate the hard work of these schools and the positive impact on our students, educators, parents and communities. I know teachers and staff have worked incredibly hard to support their students and make sure they all have the opportunities to succeed."
The National Blue Ribbons Schools award is a symbol of excellence and quality that honors America’s most successful public and private elementary, middle and high schools. Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized more than 9,000 schools. On November 14 and 15, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Schools are eligible for the award on one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates. Exemplary High Performing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. 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.
Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).