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By Alyssa Hughes

This Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced Dorthy C. Goodwin elementary school was among 334 other schools selected as the 2015 National Blue Ribbon schools.

Duncan said National Blue Ribbon schools are, “schools that are leading their students to the highest levels of achievement or making outstanding progress in closing achievement gaps.”

Each year the U.S. department of Education seeks out and celebrates American schools who demonstrate and strive for all students to achieve high levels.

“Together you represent public and non-public, traditional, charter and magnet schools in 44 states and the Department of Defense Education activity schools in Forte Brad North Carolina, Germany and Korea,” Duncan said.

Schools selected were recognized in one of the two categories. Either Exemplary High Performing Schools  or Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools. Goodwin was recognized for Exemplary Performing Schools.

Test performances, graduation rates and subgroup performance are some of the main points considered in the decision

“Each of you is unique, serving students from every racial, ethnic and social economic background,” Duncan said. “Access isn’t limited to certain neighborhoods or certain students. Challenges of all kinds can be overcome.”

Even with the challenges some of these schools faced, Duncan said that because of the devotion from the educators those challenges can be overcome.

“Never be content. Always strive to do more and to do better on behalf of the students you serve, “Duncan said.

The program has presented this award to more than 8,000 of America’s schools in its 33-year history and will honor 285 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on November 9th and 10th in Washington, D.C.

“We can and must reaffirm the promise that in America, education is the great equalizer,” said Duncan.