Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy has been nominated as a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education — the only Central Texas school to be recognized. Blackshear is one of only 26 schools in Texas to earn the honor.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education asks the top education official from each state to nominate schools that demonstrate overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes elementary, middle and high schools with a Blue Ribbon flag, a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.
"I could not be more proud of the school leadership, staff and students for their hard work and commitment to excellence," said Superintendent Paul Cruz, Ph.D. "This is just another example of an AISD school being recognized for outstanding performance."
Principal Betty Jenkins said the recognition is an amazing accomplishment.
"This is an honor that is only possible due to everyone working day-in and day-out for the good of our students who walk through our front doors each morning," she said. "The collective efforts from our students, parents, faculty and all our volunteering organizations are making Blackshear not only an academic center of excellence, but a fine arts center filled with enrichment as well. I am proud of this nomination and its academic recognition for both Blackshear Elementary and the Austin Independent School District."
In 2014, Blackshear started to offer students expanded fine arts programming.
The Texas Education Agency rated all schools nominated for the 2015 honor as exemplary, high performing-schools as measured by state assessments. All 26 schools also have economically disadvantaged populations of 25 percent or greater.
Blackshear must now complete a rigorous application process through the U.S. Department of Education. Announcements of the national award winners will be made in September. The Department of Education will honor all National Blue Ribbon Schools during a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.