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Coosa Elementary Named 2023 National Blue Ribbon School

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

BEAUFORT – Coosa Elementary School (CES) has been recognized as a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School. The U.S. Department of Education today made the announcement recognizing deserving 353 elementary, middle, and high schools across the country.

This award is reflective of the dedication put forth by all stakeholders- our faculty, staff, students, parents, and community members.

Principal Melissa Pender, Principal, Coosa Elementary

“This is a huge honor, not only for Coosa Elementary but for our entire school district,” said Superintendent Frank Rodriguez. “It recognizes on a national level the strong focus on data driven initiatives at Coosa, and it’s a testament to the leadership of Principal Pender as she embodies collaboration and engagement, achieving increased collective outcomes for the students, families, and community she serves.”

The National Blue Ribbon is a highly selective award that recognizes schools’ overall academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps.  Among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests, National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective and innovative school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation.

“We are honored to be recognized nationally for this prestigious award,” said CES Principal Melissa Pender. “This award is reflective of the dedication put forth by all stakeholders- our faculty, staff, students, parents, and community members.”

To qualify, public schools are typically nominated by their state superintendent and must meet certain eligibility requirements. Then, they are invited by the U.S. Department of Education to apply for the award. After submission, schools are screened for completeness, quality, accuracy, and eligibility. Schools are provided with feedback and an opportunity to modify their application before final submission.

Once reviews are completed, schools must be certified by the state superintendent based on the school’s most current performance on state assessments in order to receive the National Blue Ribbon School award. The entire process, from initial nomination to receiving the award, takes about a year.

“This is such an incredible distinction and you have made us so proud,” said State Superintendent Ellen Weaver about CES’s accomplishment. “Thank you for leading the way for South Carolina and really the entire Country.”

A school’s National Blue Ribbon School status does not expire. Once a school receives the award, it remains a National Blue Ribbon School.