Ward Elementary School designated as 2020 National Blue Ribbon School

Today, the U.S. Department of Education recognized Downey Unified’s Ward Elementary School along with 366 other schools across the nation as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020.

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Out of the 367 schools selected across for this designation, 36 of these schools are within California and only nine of those are within Los Angeles County. This designation is extremely significant to Downey Unified as this is the first school in the district’s history to be designated as a National Blue Ribbon School.

“Out of the 367 schools selected across the nation for this award, 36 of these schools are within California and only nine of those are within Los Angeles County .”

Now in its 38th year, the coveted 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.

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos . “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores, and graduation rates: Exemplary High Performing Schools and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools. Ward Elementary School’s designation was in honor of the Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools which identified Ward for being among California’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Education Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13, as the opportunity to celebrate in person is not possible given the current situation regarding COVID-19. Ward Elementary School along with the other 316 public and 50 non-public school honorees will join in on this virtual celebration as well as receive a plaque and flag via mail to showcase on their campus.

Click here to read more about this recognition and to see the which other schools were honored with this award.