Kutztown High School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos conferred the honor on Kutztown, one of 317 public and 50 non-public schools to receive the Blue Ribbon designation nationwide.
“It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives,” DeVos said in a news release.
The recognition is based on the schools’ overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
Christian Temchatin, superintendent, said he believes the award was based on Kutztown’s performance in standardized tests.
The state Department of Education nominated Kutztown High earlier this year. As part of the process, the school underwent a comprehensive application process.
The U.S. Department of Education recently notified Kutztown that it was a finalist, and DeVos’ office made the final declaration this week.
“Kutztown was nominated as exemplary high performing, and is among the top schools in the nation and the state,” the federal Department of Education news release said.
“I’m amazed at how truly rare it is to receive National Blue Ribbon status,” Temchatin said.
Kutztown is one of only two Pennsylvania schools to receive the honor.
The other is Freeport Senior High School in Sarver, Butler County.
Kutztown is the first Berks County high school to be accorded the honor since Wyomissing High was designated a Blue Ribbon school in 1991.
Shiloh Hills Elementary School in the Wilson School District was designated a Blue Ribbon school in 2017.
Barry Flicker, Kutztown High principal, said credit for being designated a Blue Ribbon school goes beyond the school’s staff, faculty and students.
“Kutztown is a community that takes pride in hard work and achievement,” he said. “We’re humbled and excited to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.”
Kutztown announced its award to students, faculty and parents on Thursday. The district, Temchatin said, hopes to have a more formal recognition in the future.
The award will be formally presented during a two-day virtual program Nov. 12-13 from Washington, D.C..
In its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools program has given awards to about 9,000 schools nationwide.