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5 Phoenix-area schools given 2018 federal Blue Ribbon award

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

PHOENIX — Five schools in the Phoenix area were recently given a prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Education, it was announced Thursday.

The schools — Franklin Junior High School in Mesa, Gilbert Classical Academy High School, Knox Gifted Academy in Chandler, Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies and Vista College Preparatory in Phoenix — were honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools.

“The best part of my job is being able to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of our Arizona schools and students,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said.

“These schools are an example for all others to follow. By putting the children first, these schools are now able to receive national recognition and take a well-deserved bow for their commitment to excellence.”

All of the schools were designated as either an exemplary high performing or an exemplary achievement gap closing school.

An exemplary high performing school is among Arizona’s “highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally wormed tests,” while an exemplary achievement gap closing school is among the state’s “highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years.”

The awards were determined on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates.

The five Valley schools were among the 349 schools — 300 public and 49 private — that were given the award this year. The program has awarded more than 8,800 schools in the 36 years that it has been active.

“I’m pleased to celebrate with you as your school is named a National Blue Ribbon School,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees.

“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

DeVos and her agency will celebrate with all honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 7 and 8.

Acacia Elementary School in Vail, Arizona College Preparatory Oakland Campus and Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School in Mesa and Palm Valley Elementary School in Litchfield Park were awarded the federal honor last year.

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