Lovett and Oak Forest elementary schools in the Houston Independent School District received a 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award on Wednesday from the U.S Department of Education. The schools are among just 329 schools nationwide and 26 public schools in Texas to receive the honor.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap, especially among disadvantaged and minority students. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

This is the first-ever National Blue Ribbons Schools Award for Lovett Elementary, a fine arts magnet school. The school offers a rigorous academic curriculum in combination with specialty programs in music (band, orchestra, classroom music and chorus), visual arts and physical education.

“Winning a National Blue Ribbon Schools Award is a celebration of the collaborative effort of the entire Lovett school community,” said Lovett Principal Dawn Thompson. “Our staff, parents, and students all strive to create a place where we have high expectations for learning and high expectations for how we work together. This is a proud moment for the entire Lovett community and we will work diligently to continue our tradition of excellence.”

Oak Forest Elementary, which previously won a National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in 2010, offers a Vanguard magnet program that aims to provide students with a nurturing, but challenging learning environment. The school also offers a rigorous curriculum that stresses problem solving, originality, creativity, and the uniqueness of individuals.

“We are so honored to be named a National Blue Ribbon School of excellence,” said Oak Forest Principal April Williams. “My teachers, staff and students give their all every single day, and this is just a testament to their hard work. I look forward to continuing this high standard of excellence for years to come.” 

Both schools will be honored by the U.S. Department of Education at an awards ceremony Nov. 7-8 in Washington, D.C. 

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are proof that we can prepare every child for college and meaningful careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. in a video message to honorees. “Your schools are on the cutting edge, pioneering innovative educational practices—professional learning communities, project-based learning, social and emotional learning, positive behavior systems—making you shining examples for your communities, your state and the nation.”

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