State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne is applauding four Arizona Blue Ribbon Schools,” including two in Tucson.

This honor comes after the U.S. Department of Education recognized the following four schools for their overall academic performance or progress in closing student achievement gaps:

Senita Valley Elementary School, Vail School District Sunrise Drive Elementary School, Catalina Foothills Unified District Neely Traditional Academy, Gilbert Public Schools Fireside Elementary School, Paradise Valley Unified School District

“These schools can be justifiably proud of this accomplishment because it is based on academic excellence,” Superintendent Horne shared.

U.S. Department of Education officials confirm exemplary high-performing schools are ranked among the state best-scoring schools when measured with state assessments or nationally normalized tests.

“My top priority as Superintendent is for continuous improvement in academic achievement, and Blue Ribbon Schools demonstrate that when schools lead students into challenging themselves, they will soar academically,” Superintendent Horne added.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, nominated schools which achieve exemplary gap-closing status must complete an extensive narrative application describing their school culture and philosophy, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, professional development, leadership structures, and parent and community involvement.