Fruit Street School is the only elementary school in Maine to be nationally recognized by the Department of Education for outstanding academic performance this year.
The elementary school in Bangor along with Cape Elizabeth High School and Yarmouth High School were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Thursday.
The Blue Ribbon designation is an acknowledgement of the academic achievement or progress of public and private schools across the country. Schools can either be recognized as Exemplary High Performing Schools for academic achievement based on standardized test results, or as Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools for closing achievement gaps between different student groups.
All three Maine schools to receive recognition this year were named Exemplary High Performing Schools.
Fruit Street School has 350 students in prekindergarten through third grade.
“I’m extremely proud of the administration, faculty and staff, and certainly the students,” Bangor schools Superintendent Betsy Webb said.
This year there were 362 schools recognized in 46 states plus Washington, D.C., in addition to Department of Defense-run schools. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education will honor the schools at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14 and 15.
Fruit Street is the fourth Bangor school to be designated a Blue Ribbon school.
In 2001, Bangor High School was recognized for exemplary academic performance. Fourteenth Street School received the same recognition in 2017.
In 2010, James F. Doughty School was recognized for closing the academic gap between economically disadvantaged students and the rest of the school.
More than 9,000 schools have received the same recognition by the Department of Education in the 37 years of the Blue Ribbon School program.
Top education officials in all states can nominate public schools. Department of Defense-run schools and those overseen by the Bureau of Indian Education are also eligible. Private schools can be nominated by The Council for American Private Education.
In a video message, DeVos said the Blue Ribbon schools show “what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning.”