Blue Ribbon Award 2005
What Is It – A national program established by the U.S. Department of Education in 1982 to recognize schools around the nation for their pursuit of “excellence”. In 2002-2003, the program was replaced by the “No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School Program” with the same goals in mind as the original program.
When – The program is annual; each year, schools (elementary & secondary) from around the country are invited to submit their application –announcement of schools who achieve Blue Ribbon status are usually made in September, with a recognition ceremony in November in Washington, D.C.
The Process – To be eligible to even apply for the award schools must meet one of two criteria: 1) having 40% of the students from disadvantaged backgrounds and showing improvement, OR 2) schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10% on state tests. Private schools must meet an additional requirement of achieving in the top 10% of the schools in the nation in reading and mathematics as measured by an assessment referenced against national norms.
What Allowed O’Gorman to Apply – O’Gorman qualified to apply based on its ACT scores which ranked in the top 10% of schools nationally in the areas of reading and mathematics and on its Spring 2004 Dakota STEP exams which also placed us in the top 10% of schools in South Dakota as certified by our state director, Rick Melmer – “but it’s not just about test scores.”
How Did We Win – The National Review Panel considered the following categories in analyzing our application: 1) Student Focus and Support 2) School Organization and Culture 3) Challenging Standards and Curriculum 4) Active Teaching and Learning 5) Professional Community 6) Leadership and Educational Vitality 7) School, Family, and Community Partnerships 8) Indicators of Success
Who Won – 295 schools nationwide were chosen this year (fewer than fifty of these were high schools). O’Gorman was the only high school in our six state region!
Past Winning Statistics for O’Gorman High School
Since the program was founded in1982, only 3 high schools in South Dakota have won.
O’Gorman is the only school to have received this award under both the original and revised criteria.
What Does It Mean – In the words of former U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, “These schools are national models of excellence that others can learn from.”
Blue Ribbon Statistics from O’Gorman High School
- Over 90% of O’Gorman students participate in at least one extra-curricular activity
- O’Gorman High School Students tallied over 13,000 volunteer hours last year
- 40% of the faculty at OGHS have advanced degrees and 55% have over ten years teaching experience
- O’Gorman High School has won more state athletic championships than any other high school in class AA
- Over 98% of O’Gorman graduates go on to post secondary education
- 554 students are enrolled in classes related to the visual and performing arts
- Nearly 85% of O’Gorman students complete two years of foreign language
- 85% of O’Gorman graduates last year had completed four years of math
- O’Gorman was placed on the School Merit Roll for Region 5 for the Mathematical Associations of America’s National Exam last year, and O’Gorman has had the top student in the state on this exam for the past three years.
- O’Gorman students average score on the English portion of the ACT was 24.4 last year compared to a state average of 20.7 and a national average of 20.9
- Over $275,472 in financial aid (not including parish subsidies) was awarded last school year