Fourteen New Jersey schools won National Blue Ribbon awards for achievement Thursday, including six in North Jersey.
In Bergen County, they include Saint Elizabeth School in Wyckoff, Saint John’s Academy in Hillsdale, St. Joseph School in Oradell, Lincoln Elementary School in Ridgefield Park, and Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Park Ridge.
In Passaic County, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Hawthorne won an award.
The U.S. Department of Education named 305 schools (out of 413 nominated) as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. The department will honor the 256 public and 49 private schools at an awards ceremony Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.
“America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”
Half of the New Jersey winners statewide this year are religious schools, a jump from recent years. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private and parochial schools. For public schools, districts apply for the award, and the state’s education chief nominates candidates from that pool. Based on its population, New Jersey is allowed to nominate nine public schools.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors schools for high performance based on their scores on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, their scores on national tests. Some schools are named because they improved student performance and have at least 40 percent of their students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.