LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One school in Jefferson County Public Schools and two Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville are among 10 in Kentucky named as 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools on Wednesday.

Schaffner Traditional Elementary School, St. Francis of Assisi School and St. Xavier High School were named Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education for their overall academic excellence.

It's the first time for both Schaffner and St. Francis of Assisi to earn the distinction, while St. X has been recognized four times. In addition, Lexington Elementary School in Scott County, Ind. was also awarded.

"We are so excited to receive this news today," said Phillip Poore, the principal at Schaffner. "We are very proud of the way our students, staff and parents work together for everyone's success."

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens said Thursday she is "proud to lead a school district that is focused on raising the achievement of every child in every school."

“Congratulations to Principal Phil Poore and his teachers for achieving this prestigious honor for our district," Hargens said.

Last fall, five schools were nominated by the Kentucky Department of Education to apply for the distinction based on their overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. 

"We had to submit responses to questions about the school in regards to curriculum, what we do for our struggling students and how we involve the community," Poore said. "This award is a true testament to the work we do each day. It's a real partnership, it takes all of us."

Schaffner, located off Crums Lane in Shively, is one of four traditional magnet elementary schools where JCPS students are assigned based on their home address. 

The 10 Kentucky schools are among the 329 public and private elementary, middle and high schools across the country recognized this year. 

In its 34-year history, the national Blue Ribbon Schools program has become a trademark of excellence and a symbol of exemplary teaching and learning recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Various student group performance and high school graduation rates also are at the highest levels.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students over the past five years. Student group performance and high school graduation rates for each group are at high levels.

Representatives from the schools will travel to Washington, D.C. on Nov. 7 and 8, 2016 to formally receive the award.  

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