Cincinnati Family Magazine

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March 25, 2023

The Meaning of School Awards

Schools compete for awards year-round, but what does it mean to be a National Blue Ribbon School or for a preschool to have a three-star ranking?  While there are many ways to earn recognition for a program’s quality, here are a few awards to keep an eye out for:

National Blue Ribbon Schools Program
This program honors both private and public schools that meet one of two criteria: schools must be ranked by state or national assessments as among the highest performing schools in reading and math; or schools with at least 40 percent of their student population designated as disadvantaged have shown improvement.

National Title I Distinguished Schools
These schools are recognized for either exceptional student performance over the course of at least two consecutive years, or for closing the achievement gap between student groups, using team approaches, professional development, individual programs for students and partnerships between school, parents and the community.

Step Up to Quality
This voluntary rating system guides Ohio licensed early childhood programs through a series of benchmarks — such as a lower student to teacher ratio, staff education and higher early learning standards — to earn up to five stars (expanded from three stars as of Oct. 1, 2013 to include family engagement and health promotion).

Another voluntary rating system for Kentucky childcare centers and certified family childcare homes.  Programs are rated from one to four stars, based on staff to child ratios, curriculum, staff education and training, personnel practices, and parent involvement.

Schools of Promise and Schools of Honor
Schools of Promise are recognized for their substantial progress in student achievement.  Schools of Honor are schools that have sustained high achievement while serving economically disadvantaged students.

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