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Gold star: Five Arizona schools awarded federal Blue Ribbon Award

In this July 13, 2017, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks with the media after a series of listening sessions about campus sexual violence in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

PHOENIX — Five Arizona schools were given the National Blue Ribbon Award, a prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Education, it was announced Thursday.

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.

All of the schools were designated as a “Exemplary High Performing” school, which means they are among Arizona’s “highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally wormed tests.”

The only private school in the state to be awarded the Blue Ribbon Award was Seton Catholic Preparatory. According to a statement from the school, it was designated as a “Exemplary High Performing” school for its high achievement in English and mathematics.

The five Arizona schools were among the 342 schools — 292 public and 50 private — that were recognized for the award nationwide.

According to the Department of Education’s website, the schools were awarded “based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.”

The schools also “demonstrate that all students can achieve to high levels.”

“The National Blue Ribbon Schools flag gracing a school’s building is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. National Blue Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and a model for schools still striving for excellence,” the website said.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said the schools were “active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future.”

“You are visionaries, innovators and leaders,” part of her statement read. “You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”

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