Five Iowa schools are being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023. The award honors high performing schools for overall academic performance. 

The Iowa schools named as 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools are:

  • East Elementary School, Sheldon Community School District
  • Grundy Center Middle School, Grundy Center Community School District
  • Norman Borlaug Elementary School, Iowa City Community School District
  • Perry Elementary School, Perry Community School District
  • St. Ansgar High School, St. Ansgar Community School District

“These school communities have earned a tremendous honor through high expectations and the hard work of students and their dedicated teachers and families,” said Iowa Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow. “We are excited to celebrate education excellence in Iowa as we work together to provide all children what they need to realize their incredible potential.”

The award recognizes schools in one of two performance categories based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • 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.

Iowa’s Exemplary High-Performing Schools performed in the top 15 percent of all Iowa schools based on their overall accountability score on the Iowa School Performance Profiles. The Iowa School Performance Profiles is Iowa’s accountability reporting system that meets state and federal requirements to publish report cards reflecting the performance of all public schools.

National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation. With its 40th cohort, the award spotlights schools that demonstrate proficiency and growth by ensuring students master challenging content. A total of 353 schools received this designation.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Department of Education invites National Blue Ribbon Schools nominations from the top education officials in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education. Read more about the National Blue Ribbon Schools.