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North Star Academy Honored at National Blue Ribbon Award Ceremony in Washington D.C.


 
Blue Ribbon North Star Academy Principal Leslie Crane, former Principal Wendy Kelly and 4th grade teacher Karen Gaffney accepted a National Blue Ribbon Award at a ceremony on November 13 in Washington D.C. hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for the winners.
 
The award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or for their progress toward significantly improving student academic achievement levels. The schools—264 public and 50 private, are among more than 7,000 that have received the coveted award over the past 30 years.

"Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential," Duncan said. "Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future."

North Star Academy, a 3-8 grade school in the Redwood City School District was  one of only 13 public and private schools in the state of California and one of 314 schools nationwide to be awarded this distinction in 2012.  The U.S. Department of Education has bestowed this annual award in the U.S. since 1982, when the program began.  The program recognizes those schools exhibiting the highest level of student achievement or which have made exemplary progress toward bridging the achievement gap.
 
"Receiving a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School designation is an enormous honor," said Superintendent Jan Christensen.  "We are proud that North Star shares this distinction with some of the best public and private schools in the nation."
 
According to the U.S. Department of Education website, to be eligible for the prestigious nomination, schools must be in the 85th percentile or above on statewide tests or count among the top 10 percent of schools serving a largely socioeconomically disadvantaged student body showing consistent improvement over the past five years.   To select the schools, the Department requests nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 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 417 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
 
North Star served 540 students in 3rd through 8th grade and was designated a California Distinguished School in 2010.  Its curricula and programs are designed to meet the unique needs of students identified as gifted and high achieving through specific instructional strategies.  In the 2011-12 school year, the school earned an API score of 990 out of a total of 1,000, making it the highest-performing school in the San Mateo County.  
 
The Redwood City School District operates pre-school, elementary and middle schools serving students from pre-kindergarten through grade 8.  The district serves more than 9,200 K-8 students at 16 schools and more than 600 pre-school students at 8 pre-school sites.