EDINBURG – For the second year in a row, Edinburg Consolidated Independent

School District has earned two National Blue Ribbon School recognitions.

U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, announced Thursday that Austin Elementary School and Jefferson Elementary School have been named 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools and are among 342 schools from across the country receiving this honor.

"National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future," said DeVos to the honorees via the internet. "You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff."

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“I feel very grateful to all of my colleagues and our Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez who has allowed us to all come together and receive the recognition together as a District,” Jefferson Elementary School Principal Ana H. Salinas said.

“I think that it’s exciting that Austin Elementary School will now be known as a National Blue Ribbon School,” Austin Elementary School Principal Homero Cano said.

Last year, Canterbury Elementary School and Trevino Elementary School received the coveted awards.

“It’s an honor for Edinburg CISD to have four National Blue Ribbon Schools within the last two years,” said ECISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez. “These four awards are a reflection of our community, students, staff, administration and school board members, and everyone’s efforts in putting all of this together. It’s all about student success and these honors exemplify that we have top-level schools in our district.”

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Department of Education invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states.

Earlier this year, 26 Texas schools were nominated for the honor by the Texas Commissioner of Education, who has conducted the nominations since 2003 when the process for applying for the Blue Ribbon School recognition changed.

According to the TEA, nominations are made by the Texas Commissioner of Education in Texas and a campus may no longer self-nominate for the prestigious award. 

All Texas schools were selected as exemplary high performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Each school has an economically disadvantaged population of 25 percent or greater.

Now in its 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized more than 8,500 schools. On November 6-7, Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education will celebrate with these honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.