Lee’s Summit West High School was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School, according to a Sept. 24 announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
A total of 286 schools across the nation were selected for the 2013 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement.
Lee’s Summit West was among just nine schools selected for this national honor in Missouri and one of two schools in the Kansas City metropolitan area named a Blue Ribbon School.
Secretary Duncan made this year’s announcement live via the Department’s USTREAM channel, viewed by recognized principals, teachers and students assembled across the country. The Department will honor 236 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C. In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America’s schools.
“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said Secretary Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”
Lee’s Summit West High School is celebrating its 10th anniversary this school year. In addition to academic excellence, the school focuses on ensuring a culture of respect and acceptance while building relationships and working collaboratively with the community.
As part of the 10th-year celebration, school teams and student groups are emphasizing the school’s ongoing focus on community-service projects, a key component in the school’s successful culture over the past 10 years.
“We are so proud of our students, our staff and our families,” said David Sharp, LSWHS principal, “and especially pleased to receive the award at the same time we are celebrating our first decade.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.
The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is “exemplary high performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
The second category is “exemplary improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. LSWHS was recognized as “exemplary high performing.”
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requested nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools.
A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.