SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Two San Diego County schools are being recognized as California's latest National Blue Ribbon Schools.
Carmel Del Mar Elementary School, in the Del Mar Union School District, and Elevate School, a public charter school in San Diego Unified School District, are among 28 California schools recognized in 2021 as part of the award.
The National Blue Ribbon award recognizes a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps.
The honor recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates: "Exemplary High-Performing Schools" and "Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools." Both San Diego schools were recognized in the "Exemplary High-Performing Schools" category.
ABC 10News visited the Elevate School on Tuesday. It is a public charter that started just eight years ago with a little over 100 students.
"Elevate was actually founded originally to provide another high-quality public school option for military families in the Tierrasanta and Serra Mesa communities," Executive Director and Founding Principal Ryan Elliott said.
It has since grown to a K-7 program with 415 students. About one-third of the children are from military families. Elliott said the school has a unique way of engaging with these kids who often have to move or live months without a parent during deployments.
"For our students who have experienced more transitions over their early years, learning how to both lead themselves and lead others, particularly resonates with this subset of our population," Elliott said.
They do it all without having their own school campus. The middle school campus rents out a portion of a community church. The school is split into three campuses by grade, but students stay connected. Elliot said succeeding while overcoming these challenges makes the national recognition even sweeter.
"I am so proud of our community. So proud of our students, staff, parents, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead," Elliott said.
Elevate School is now working on securing a larger, permanent location to house all its students.
"This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a release. "I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better."
This year, 325 schools in 43 states were recognized for the award.