Bangor Schools Superintendent Betsy Webb stands outside Mary Snow School on Sept. 24. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

Mary Snow School on Thursday became the fifth Bangor school to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for outstanding academic performance.

The Bangor school, which serves students in grades four and five, was one of three elementary schools in Maine to receive the National Blue Ribbon School designation from the U.S. Department of Education.

The other two schools are Easton Elementary School and Cape Elizabeth Elementary School.

Nationally, 317 public schools and 50 non-public schools received the Blue Ribbon School designation this year.

The federal program recognizes public and private K-12 schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among different subgroups of students. Schools can either be recognized as Exemplary High Performing Schools or as Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools.

Mary Snow, which had about 240 students last school year, was named an Exemplary High Performing School. While 55.9 percent of students scored proficient or better on the state’s English exams during the 2018-19 school year, 79.8 percent of Mary Snow students did. In math, 64.2 percent of Mary Snow students scored proficient or better, compared with 35.6 percent of students statewide.

Bangor students have consistently scored above the state average on standardized tests, according to state assessments.

The designation was based on assessment data for the past three years. Since state assessments were canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, data from this past spring semester were not part of the evaluation process, Superintendent Betsy Webb said.

Bangor High School was the first school in the city to receive the Blue Ribbon School designation when it received the award for academic excellence in 2001. Since then, four other schools in the city have received the same honor: James F. Doughty School in 2010, Fourteenth Street School in 2017, Fruit Street School in 2019 and Mary Snow in 2020.

“This recognition is for all of Bangor. We are especially proud of the students, who clearly understand the importance of doing well in school,” Webb said. “The teachers and staff continually go above and beyond to provide a high-quality education for all Bangor students.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony — which is typically held in Washington, D.C. — will be held virtually this year, on Nov. 12 and 13.