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Three Hawaii elementary schools win National Blue Ribbon honors

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    The Department of Education hopes to get accreditation for 159 elementary schools over a five-year period. Above
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Three Hawaii public elementary schools were named Tuesday as 2014 National Blue Ribbon schools for "outstanding performance and improvement efforts," according to a new release issued by state’s Department of Education.

Ernest Bowen deSilva Elementary, Haleiwa Elementary and Red Hill Elementary schools are among 337 schools nationwide announced as winners by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Washington, D.C. 

In November, Secretary Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education will honor the schools – 287 public and 50 private – at a recognition ceremony in the nation’s capital. 

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

"These great schools are fulfilling the promise of an American education–that all students, no matter their socioeconomic status or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments," Duncan said in the release. "National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts." 

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.

Most of the students attending Hilo’s E.B. deSilva Elementary — including students from disadvantaged subgroups — "meet and/or exceed standards in English language arts and math," according to the release.  

On Oahu’s North Shore, Haleiwa Elementary "has been a model of academic excellence with students routinely in the 90 percent proficiency category in math and reading," the release said, adding that 65 percent of Haleiwa’s 200 students come from economically disadvantaged homes.  

In Oahu’s Moanalua schools complex, which serves a large number of military dependents from surrounding base housing, Red Hill Elementary aims to develop the "whole child" academically and socially. It is the only school of the three in Hawaii that was cited in the Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools category.

In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has issued the award to nearly 7,900 schools.

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