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Middle Ridge named National Blue Ribbon School
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that Middle Ridge Elementary School is a National Blue Ribbon School. Middle Ridge Elementary is one of only 286 schools in the nation designated a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School. Only nine Georgia schools—eight public and one private earned the special designation. Secretary Duncan made this year’s announcement live via the U.S. Department of Education’s USTREAM channel, viewed by recognized principals, teachers, and students assembled across the country.

“The faculty and staff at Middle Ridge Elementary School go above and beyond the call of duty every day,” said Michael Forehand, principal of Middle Ridge Elementary School. “I am so proud to see this dedicated group of professionals receive the accolades they deserve. We are now one step closer to our goal of being the best. Not only are our students defined by our vision of strength and determination, but so too is our staff; which truly makes us worthy of being a school of National Blue Ribbon Status.”

“The staff, faculty, and administration are most-deserving of this recognition; they have worked diligently over the last several years to focus their efforts to improve students’ achievement,” said Newton County School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “We are proud of their dedication and commitment and look forward to the continued success and improvement.”

The U.S. Department of Education will honor the 236 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 18-19 in Washington, D.C. In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America’s schools.

“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said Secretary Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. Middle Ridge earned its designation in the second category, “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

"Schools being named as a National Blue Ribbon School are just another example of the great things happening in Georgia schools. These eight schools are to be commended for their outstanding student performance," said Georgia School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "I am excited that the students, teachers, and staff were recognized on a national level for excellence."

To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requested nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.