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National Blue Ribbon Schools

Trademark of Excellence, Symbol of Quality

Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has honored America’s most successful public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag waving overhead has become a trademark of excellence, a symbol of quality recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools whose students achieve at very high levels or schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement.

Schools are eligible for National Blue Ribbon recognition if they meet either one of two criteria:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools: Schools that are ranked among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics or that score at the highest performance level on tests referenced by national norms in at least the most recent year tested.

  • Exemplary Improving Schools: Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have reduced the achievement gap by making the most progress in improving student performance in reading (English language arts) and mathematics on state assessments or tests referenced by national norms in at least the most recent year tested.

At least one-third of the public schools nominated by each state must be schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Public schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in the year of their nomination. National Blue Ribbon Schools are honored each year at a recognition ceremony in Washington, DC. The applications from the award-winning schools are posted on the Department’s web site. Summaries from a small group of National Blue Ribbon Schools visited each year identify educational practices that have been successful in closing the achievement gap.

Colorado 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awardees

The Colorado Department of Education submits to the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) the names of schools that meet the National Blue Ribbon Schools criteria. The following schools were submitted by the Colorado Department of Education and recognized by USDE in November 2015:

Centennial Elementary
1860 South Chelton Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80910
Harrison School District 2
Principal: Kim Noyes (

Evergreen High School
29300 Buffalo Park Road
Evergreen, CO 80439
Jefferson County Public Schools
Principal: Ryan Alsup (

High Peaks Elementary
3995 Aurora Avenue
Boulder, CO 80303
Boulder Valley School District
Principal: Jeannie Tynecki (

Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School
3002 East Trilby Road
Fort Collins, CO 80528
Poudre School District
Principal: Jesse Morrill (

Penrose Elementary School
100 Illinois Street
Penrose, CO 81240
Fremont School District RE-2
Prinicipal: Michelle Lesser (

Valor Christian High School
3775 Grace Boulevard
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126
Private School
Head of School: Kurt Unruh (

View Colorado's previous National Blue Ribbon School Award Recipients

National Contact:
Aba S. Kumi
Blue Ribbon Schools Program
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW, 5E103
Washington, DC 20202-8173

Colorado Contact:
Lynn Bamberry
Director, Competitive Grants and Awards
Colorado Department of Education
1560 Broadway, Suite 1450
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 866-6813

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