EL PASO, Texas - On Tuesday, 26 Texas schools were named Blue Ribbon schools, with five of them being schools in the El Paso metro.
Clendenin Elementary, Hawkins Elementary and Lamar Elementary of the El Paso Independent School District, and Ramona Elementary and Vista Hills Elementary of the Ysleta Independent School District received the recognition for their high achievements over the last year.
At Hawkins, Principal Adriana Ruiz is proud of all the work her staff has done both before and during the pandemic. In the school months during the pandemic, she and her staff "were constantly checking in on them (the students) to make sure they were ok socially, emotionally [and] checking in with their families."
"It was more important for us to make sure they would be ok emotionally before they'd be ok academically," she added.
There are two ways schools are recognized for their high achievements under the Blue Ribbon program.
"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," according to the U.S Dept. of Education.
This year, the 'exemplary high performing schools' were Hawkins, Lamar and Ramona. The 'exemplary achievement gap closing schools' were Clendenin and Vista Hills.
"Our school has been consistently scoring very high on state academic tests, kids are not just passing they are excelling, they are receiving high levels of academic achievement," said Ruiz.
Principal Ruiz along with other members of her staff and the EPISD board will be traveling to Washington D.C in November to formally accept their Blue Ribbon award.
Out of all of Texas, EPISD had the most schools receiving Blue Ribbon awards this year. In total, since the award system was created, EPISD has won 17 awards at 13 different campuses, while YISD has won 14 awards at 14 different campuses.
For more information on the Blue Ribbon awards, you can click here.