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NARRAGANSETT – The Narragansett Elementary School (NES) was recently recognized as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a distinction based on overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. NES joins 366 other schools around the nation who earned the honor this year.

“NES is honored to receive this distinction,” said principal Lisa Wilson. “It is many years in the making. The district and staff have worked very hard at choosing curriculum and assessments to support all learners. The teachers have also been part of learning about a Growth Mindset, which is an important philosophy about learning and teaching.”

Up to 420 schools throughout the country are nominated each year, and the U.S. Education Department makes its final selection for the Blue Ribbon distinction in one of two performance categories – student scores (based on state or national assessments), subgroup scores and graduation rates.

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said DeVos in a statement announcing the honorees. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet the students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

The National Blue Ribbon School Award is a coveted recognition that affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.

NES last received the distinction in 1986. In 1987, Narragansett High School was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School by then-U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett.  

NES joins fellow South County institutions Charlestown Elementary School and Kingston Hill Academy in Saunderstown in being recognized this year.

According to Wilson, NES’ implementation of the “Growth Mindset” philosophy, encouragement of student performance in achieving goals and hitting academic benchmarks, contributed to the school receiving the national recognition for the first time in nearly 35 years.     

 “Through Growth Mindset, students have learned about the ‘power of yet,’” she said. “Essentially, no one is great at everything right away, though they may be great at some things, good at others and not yet at the unknown concepts. The ‘power of yet’ gives students the encouragement and knowledge that they will all succeed with effort and practice. Gaps have been closed due to the careful planning and implementation of academic and emotional support for our diverse population.”

Students and faculty at NES will wear blue this Friday to celebrate the recent selection. 

Schools are annually nominated by top education officials in all states, the District of Columbia and 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.

This year, 317 public schools and 50 non-public schools were recognized around the U.S.

A virtual awards ceremony will be held on Nov. 13. Winning schools will receive a plaque and flag in the mail. 

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