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NEWS RELEASES 2004-05 :: SEPTEMBER 17, 2004


Seven North Carolina public schools today were named 2004 No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige. These elementary schools are among 205 public and 50 private schools to achieve this honor.

Elementary schools receiving this prestigious recognition are: Claxton Elementary and Isaac Dickson Elementary, Asheville City Schools; Claxton Elementary and Shadybrook Elementary, Guilford County Schools; North Hills Elementary, Winston-Salem-Forsyth Schools; Pisgah Forest Elementary, Transylvania County Schools; and Sunny View Elementary, Polk County Schools.

In announcing the schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige said, "For years, many of our underprivileged children were ignored and pre-judged, moved to the back of the room and quietly pushed through the system, with their scores hidden in averages. So we must change our approach, incentives and expectations. We must foster a climate of academic excellence, enabling all students to reach the highest levels of scholarship."

For the past 22 years, the U.S. Department of Education has recognized many of the nation's most successful schools through its Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Schools selected for this prestigious award model excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement and parental involvement. On July 28, 2002, Secretary Paige announced that schools singled out for national honors must also reflect the goals of the nation's new education reforms for high standards and accountability found under No Child Left Behind.

Blue Ribbon Schools are selected based on one of three assessment criteria:

  • Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance on state tests, as determined by the state superintendent;
  • Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent on state tests; and
  • Private schools that achieve in the top 10 percent in the nation.

Of the schools submitted by each state, at least one-third must meet the criterion of having 40 percent of the students from disadvantaged backgrounds and showing dramatic improvement. State education departments nominate public schools for consideration. Once all nominations are received, the Secretary invites the nominated schools to submit applications for possible recognition as a No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon School.

Elementary and secondary schools participate in alternate years with middle schools participating with high schools in the recognition program. School representatives will be honored during a National Recognition Ceremony scheduled for Nov. 4-5 in Washington, DC.

For additional information regarding the Blue Ribbon Schools Program, please contact Debora Sydnor, School Support Services, NC DPI, 919.807.3925, or by email,

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.