Elsmere Elementary named a Blue Ribbon School — again

Elsmere Elementary School in the Bethlehem Central School district has been named a National Blue Ribbon School for the second time in a decade.

BETHLEHEM — Elsmere Elementary School in Delmar is among the 20 schools in New York State to be named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2022, as announced this week by United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

This is the second time in a decade the Bethlehem school, which serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade, has received the designation.

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“As our country continues to recover from the pandemic, we know that our future will only be as strong as the education we provide to all of our children,” said Cardona in a release, announcing the schools. “Blue Ribbon Schools have gone above and beyond to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. These schools show what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives.” 

With its 39th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

The education department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores, and graduation rates:

— Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests; and

— Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.  

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. 

This year, 273 of the schools recognized were public, like Elsmere Elementary, and 24 were non-public schools. Forty-seven percent of the public schools recognized were suburban, like Elsmere, while 37 percent were rural or in a small city or town and 16 percent were urban.

Seventy-one percent of the recognized schools, like Elsmere, were elementary schools while 15 percent were high schools, 11 percent were middle schools, and 3 percent served students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Forty-seven percent of the recognized public schools had 40 percent or more disadvantaged students.

Of the non-public schools recognized, 92 percent were Catholic, 4 percent were Jewish, and 4 percent were Christian. Seventy-five percent were elementary schools while 21 percent were high schools and 4 percent served students in kindergarten through 12th grades.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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