To be eligible for preliminary nomination for the 2012 Blue Ribbon School Program (BRSP), a school must have:
- Been in operation for the last five years (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11)
- Not received the BRSP award in the last five years (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11)
- Made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2011 and 2010
- Made its Academic Performance Index (API) targets (schoolwide and for all numerically significant student groups) in 2011 and 2010
- No reported adult testing irregularities in 2011 or 2010
- At least 100 students tested in the most recent year
- No open complaints or compliance issues related to the Office of Civil Rights for 2011 or 2010
- No open complaints or compliance issues related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for 2011 or 2010
If the school includes grade seven or higher, the school must have foreign language as part of its curriculum and a significant number of students in grades seven and higher must take foreign language courses.
In addition, for the Exemplary Improving Schools category the school must have served all grades evaluated in 2006-07 and in 2010-11 (i.e., a school must have had a grade five in both 2006-07 and in 2010-11 to qualify)
For final nomination as a 2012 BRSP, a school must meet all its 2012 API and AYP targets, including those for the school overall and for all numerically significant student groups. The final nomination check is completed in August/September of 2012.
Each year the U.S. Department of Education outlines the categories for nomination. In 2012 there are two categories:
Exemplary High Performing Schools: Schools that achieve at least the 85th percentile statewide in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in English-language arts (ELA) and mathematics on the state assessments. Schools nominated in this category may or may not have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Exemplary Improving Schools: Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged background that are also among the top 10 percent of schools in the state showing the greatest improvement in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA and mathematics on the state assessments over the last five years.
Defining Disadvantaged Schools
A school is identified as “disadvantaged” for the purposes of the BRSP if 40 percent or more of its students: (a) are eligible for the Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program; (b) have parents who did not earn a high school diploma; (c) receive Migrant Education services; (d) are classified as an English learner; or (e) are classified as students with disabilities. The percent is calculated by using the cumulative, unduplicated student-level data aggregated across all categories.
At least one-third of the schools nominated must be schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The CDE conducts an analysis of the statewide assessment databases to identify schools that meet the eligibility criteria outlined above and also qualify as Exemplary High Performing Schools or Exemplary Improving Schools.
Within the Exemplary High Performing category, schools were separately sorted depending on whether the school had 40 percent or more or less than 40 percent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This resulted in two subcategories within the Exemplary High Performing Schools category: Exemplary High Performing Schools and Exemplary High Performing Schools, Disadvantaged.
Once schools were identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and qualifying for one of the two nomination categories, the following criteria were also evaluated:
- Each school had to have at least 15 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Only one school per district per grade span (elementary, middle, high) was allowed. If a district had more than one school qualify for the BRSP, selection preference was given to the Exemplary Improving School, followed by the Exemplary High Performing School, Disadvantaged, and finally the Exemplary High Performing School.
- The difference in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA and mathematics combined between the school overall and the disadvantaged student group must be less than or equal to 30 percentage points.
California may nominate 35 public schools each year. Blue Ribbon Schools from across the country are honored in Washington, D.C. at a ceremony hosted by the U.S. Secretary of Education.