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8 Minnesota schools – 6 in Brainerd – honored with national award

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Eight Minnesota schools, including six from Brainerd, are being recognized for making progress in closing achievement gaps or for their exemplary academic performance.

The National Blue Ribbon School Award is one of the highest honors handed out by the U.S. Department of Education – 287 public and 50 private schools nationwide received the award Tuesday, according to a news release.

"We’re seeing something unique in this year’s winners – multiple winning schools from a single district in a single year, or in recent years. That tells us these schools have figured out something special and important: how to move the needle not for just the kids in one school, but for kids in schools across the district," Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius said in a news release.

Minnesota's 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools for exemplary high-performing schools:

The award is given to these schools because they're among Minnesota's highest-performing schools based on state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Minnesota's 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools for exemplary achievement gap closing schools:

  • Garfield Elementary, Brainerd Public School District.
  • Harrison Elementary, Brainerd Public School District.
  • Riverside Elementary, Brainerd Public School District.
  • A.C.G.C. Elementary, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District.

These schools are among Minnesota's highest performing schools in closing the achievement gaps between a school's subgroups and all students over the past five years.

Minnesota has been said to have one of the country's widest achievement disparities between students of color and their white classmates – test scores for students of color are up to 30 percent lower than their white peers.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps. In the program's 32-year history, more than 7,500 schools across the country have been presented with the award.

The Department of Education will honor all 337 Blue Ribbon schools at a recognition ceremony in November. Check out this interactive map of all the schools.

Numerous Minnesota schools have received these awards in the past. Last year's winners included Garfield Elementary School, Alexandria School District; Hanover Elementary School, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District; International Spanish Language Academy in Minnetonka; and Winsted Elementary School, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Public Schools.

Click here to see all past winners.

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