September 15, 2011
Two Chicago Public Schools -- John J. Audubon Elementary School and Northside College Prep High School – have been named as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. Audubon, a high-performing neighborhood school located at 3500 N. Hoyne Ave., and Northside, a selective enrollment high school located at 5501 N. Kedzie Ave., are among 19 schools from throughout the state of Illinois to receive the coveted designation in 2011.
Audubon and Northside are among a total of 305 schools nationwide – 256 public and 49 private schools – that will be honored at an awards ceremony later this year in Washington, D.C. The award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or have made dramatic gains in student achievement, and helped close gaps in achievement among minority and disadvantaged students.
“Receiving the Blue Ribbon award is a tremendous honor and I am extremely proud of these schools,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I want to congratulate the hardworking teachers who proved that a child can learn and succeed no matter what neighborhood they come from or type of school they attend. Their dedication, along with the principals, staff and parents is an example of how a teacher can make a difference in a child’s life and education.”
“We congratulate the administrations, faculties, staffs and school communities at Audubon and Northside on this achievement” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “Recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School provides a great example of the kind of school we want to bring to every neighborhood in Chicago, to ensure that every student has access to world-class education.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools program honors schools based on one of two criteria:
- Schools whose students, regardless of background, are high performing. They are ranked among the state’s highest performing schools as measured on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, which score at the highest performance level on tests referenced by national norms in at least the most recent years tested.
- Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance in state assessments or nationally normed tests.
“I am extremely proud of Audubon's outstanding students, staff, and parents for the years of hard work and dedication that have earned Audubon this distinction. The award recognizes and confirms our belief that all children can learn and succeed when schools provide inclusive and differentiated learning environments,” said Audubon Principal John Price.
“We are very proud to accept the Blue Ribbon award on behalf of our outstanding students, supportive parents and expert and dedicated faculty and staff,” said Northside College Prep Principal Barry Rodgers. “We are also very proud to accept this honor as a Chicago Public School. Our goal has been to be the premier public school in the premier public school system in the nation. At Northside, we are developing young men and women who have both the will and capacity to positively change the world.”
In recent years, other CPS schools named as Blue Ribbon winners include: George Leland Elementary School (2004), William Jones College Prep High School (2006), Horace Greeley Elementary School (2007), Robert A. Black Magnet School (2008), Walter Payton College Prep High School (2008), Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (2009) and Andrew Jackson Magnet Language Academy (2010).
Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America's schools have received the Blue Ribbon award. A total of only 413 schools nationwide can be nominated annually for the award, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The state’s chief education officer nominates public schools and the Council for American Private Education submits private school nominations. The schools are then invited by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a Blue Ribbon School.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.