U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Tuesday recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, with 26 schools in Texas, and including five from the El Paso region.
Secretary Cardona made the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip, while visiting an awardee school, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Illinois.
The five El Paso area schools honored are:
Clendenin Elementary School, El Paso Independent School District.
Hawkins Elementary School, El Paso Independent School District.
Lamar Elementary School, El Paso Independent School District.
Ramona Elementary School, Ysleta Independent School District.
Vista Hills Elementary School, Ysleta Independent School District.
Ysleta ISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre shared his thoughts about the honor.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and myself, we offer our wholehearted congratulations on the extraordinary success we’ve seen at both Ramona and Vista Hills elementary schools over the course of several years,” Dr. De La Torre.
“By being named National Blue Ribbon Schools, Ramona and Vista Hills elementary schools have truly created a superb learning environment where students outperform their peers throughout Texas and the nation,” Dr. De La Torre added. “It is indicative of the rigor, vitality, and distinction we seek to instill at all Ysleta ISD campuses.”
For El Paso ISD, interim Superintendent Vince Sheffield also congratulated his district’s honorees.
“A National Blue Ribbon comes as proof that the work teachers and students are doing are not just effective, but also extraordinary,” Interim Superintendent Sheffield said. “I want to congratulate the teachers and staff at Clendenin, Hawkins and Lamar for their continued commitment to education. I’d also like to thank the students at those three schools for being amazing learners.”
Officials say the recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona.
“I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”
Officials add that the National Blue Ribbon Schools award “affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.