NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) — An elementary school in Norfolk has been named as a National Blue Ribbon school.

Westside Elementary School received the award recognizing the school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing gaps among student subgroups, according to the Nebraska Department of Education.

“Congratulations to the teachers, staff, and students of Westside Elementary School on being named a 2022 National Blue Ribbon School,” said Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, Norfolk Public School’s Superintendent. “We are very proud to celebrate their recognition as a top performing school in the nation!”

The Norfolk Public School District stated in a release that this is the third time they’ve been recognized for performance since its founding in 1959. They were first recognized in 2015 and again in 2019 when they received the ESEA (Title I) Distinguished School Award. The Distinguished School Award is based on “the documented student achievement gains that have resulted from their collaborative and targeted efforts and innovations,” according to the ESEA website.

“Westside Elementary is an amazing place to be. I can’t say enough about our tremendous, hardworking staff. I am extremely proud of them, and they deserve full credit for this honor,” said Westside Elementary School Principal, Mr. Tracy Lichty. “We are also incredibly blessed to have families that are very supportive of our staff, students, and overall school community. Finally, we have wonderful district leadership and a school board that continuously provides us with the tools we need to succeed.”

The school district announced that additionally, they will be hosting a celebration on November 10 in Westside’s gym at 2:30 p.m.

A total of five schools in Nebraska were given the award in 2022.

“We are thrilled to celebrate with the five Nebraska schools that have earned this achievement,” said Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matthew Blomstedt. “Through focused work and determination these schools have provided excellent learning environments, despite a number of challenges, to help their students strive to be their best.”

The schools that received the award in Nebraska are listed below.

  • Johnson-Brock Public Schools, Johnson-Brock Public School District in Johnson.
  • Adams Elementary School, Lincoln Public School District in Lincoln.
  • Humann Elementary School, Lincoln Public School District in LIncoln.
  • Westside Elementary Schook, Norfolk Public School District in Norfolk.
  • Skutt Catholic High Schoo, Archdiocese of Omaha in Omaha.

“I applaud all the honorees for the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award for creating vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school communities where students can learn, grow, reach their potential, and achieve their dreams,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “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. 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.”

The program honors both public and private schools where high standards are met or notable improvements that close achievement gaps are made.

A full list of schools that received the award can be found here.