The highest national honor a school can attain is being named a Blue Ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education.  Honorees have just been announced.  Nationally there were 300 public schools and 49 non-public.

Alabama had five public schools  Arab elementary in the Arab city system; Athens elementary in the Athens city system; .Liberty Park middle in the Vestavia city system; Mountain Brook elementary in the Mountain Brook city system and Rock Quarry Elementary in the Tuscaloosa city system.

Especially noteworthy is that the free-reduced lunch rate for Athens elementary is 73 percent.  Arab elementary is 37.8 percent.  The other three are less than 7 percent.

The Blue Ribbon school program began in 1982.  Nearly 100 Alabama schools have been recognized, 13 of them on multiple occasions. I have been to a number of them   We studied three of them in our 2008 research project Lessons Learned from Rural Schools.  Nationally, 44 percent of the public honorees this year were in suburban locations, 38 percent were in rural areas and only 19 percent in inner-city locations.

Editor’s note: Interestingly enough, I went to one of them in the fourth grade.  Maryvale elementary in Mobile.  But that was decades before 1982.  I do remember my teacher was Ms. Simmons and I made straight A’s.  Also my son and daughter both attended EPIC elementary in Birmingham.  Kevin graduated from Vestavia Hills high in Birmingham and Kim graduated from Davidson high in Mobile.  All three have been Blue Ribbon schools..