LOA Honored as a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School

Greensboro, GA (October 3, 2014) – On Tuesday, September 30, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized Lake Oconee Academy (LOA) as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2014. The honor was based on LOA’s overall academic excellence and progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“If you consider the number of schools across the nation, more than 1250 in Georgia alone, when LOA is in the top 239, it is an achievement,” said Dr. Otho Tucker CEO of LOA. “It speaks to the dedication of the faculty, the work ethic of the children, the assistance they receive from caring parents, the volunteers that come donating their time and effort for no more than the satisfaction of seeing a child succeed, and the leadership and vision of a thoughtful board of governors. I commend the families of people who made this happen. You should feel proud and honored.”

• According to data from the National Center for Educational Statistics, the United States has approximately 132,183 public and private P-12 schools

• The number of 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools is 337 from 47 states, U. S. Virgin Islands and DoDEA schools in Germany and Japan

• Of these, 287 are public (traditional, charter, choice, and magnet schools) and 50 private schools

• There are 25 K-12 schools; 239 Elementary Schools, 25 Middle Schools and 48 High Schools

• 289 are being recognized as Exemplary High Performing Schools and 48 are being recognized as Exemplary Gap Closing Schools

Greene County School Board member Leah Dukes had this to say about the honor, “While the high achievement of the school is impressive, even more is the second part. Student sub-group performance is at its highest. Dr. Tucker and the staff at LOA have shown that ALL students are capable of excellence. Thank you for demonstrating that innovation is the key to student achievement.”

The Department of Education will honor all 287 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,900 of America’s schools.

“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Secretary Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”

All schools are recognized 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. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels.

• 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. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are at high levels.

Specifically, for the 2013-2014 award year, the Department strengthened the focus of both categories’ performance criteria around subgroups within a school and improving graduation rates for all students.

The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools

For immediate release
Contact: Kerry Minster