National Blue Ribbons Awarded to Six NC Public Schools

Raleigh, NC

Six North Carolina public schools today were named 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The six schools are among 342 schools nationwide recognized for their overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps.

North Carolina public schools receiving this prestigious recognition are:

  • Brunswick Early College High School, Brunswick County Schools
  • Clear Creek Elementary School, Henderson County Schools
  • Davis Drive Middle School, Wake County Schools
  • Highland School of Technology, Gaston County Schools
  • Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy (charter school)
  • Riverbend Elementary School, Haywood County Schools

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” said DeVos to the honorees. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”

State Superintendent Mark Johnson praised North Carolina’s Blue Ribbon honorees as models of innovation helping to lead the state’s public schools with a strong focus on high expectations for all students.

“These six schools are demonstrating what’s best about public education in North Carolina: a clear focus on teaching and learning that delivers results for students,” Johnson said.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

This coveted award 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 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,500 schools. On Nov. 6-7, the secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with these honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years.

All six of North Carolina’s schools recognized this year for the Blue Ribbon designation were selected as Exemplary High Performing Schools.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The 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).

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 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.

This press release is related to: