Four Charter Schools in Florida are named 2014 National Blue Ribbon Recipients

FLORIDA – September 30, 2014 – Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized 287 public and 50 private schools as 2014 National Blue Ribbon recipients. Among the list of recipients are nine schools from Florida, four of which are charter schools: Crossroad Academy, Mater Gardens Academy, Terrace Community Middle School, and Doral Performing Arts & Entertainment Academy, the only high school in the State of Florida to receive this prestigious designation.

The Blue Ribbon Award designation goes to public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels, or have made significant academic progress and helped close gaps in achievement especially among disadvantaged and minority students. For the 2013-2014 award year, the Department of Education also looked at a school’s ability to improve graduation rates for all students.

At Crossroad Academy Charter School business is incorporated throughout the entire curriculum. Specific skills are taught at every grade level, from K-9, based upon three pillars of success: entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness. The school opened in August of 1998 in Quincy, FL, with an initial class of 22 students who had either been suspended or expelled from their public schools. After five years of operation, the faculty began to see a positive change in the behavior and academic performance of the students. Crossroad Academy has received awards and recognition for excellence in academics and other areas of achievement. In 2006, the school received a “Top Ten Charter School Award” from the state of Florida and earned the “Superintendent’s Making the Grade Award” every year from 2008 to 2013 for earning a school grade of “A.” In 2009 and 2013, the school earned the Distinguished Title I School from the Florida Department of Education. Located in a low income rural agricultural community, Crossroad Academy scan now add “first school in Gadsden County to receive the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award” to its list of accomplishments.

Opened in August 2006, Mater Gardens Academy is a K-8 located in the northern part of Miami Dade County. The school has earned local and state recognition for its academic accomplishments. It was one of the top ten schools in Miami-Dade County in 2012 and 2013, and earned the 2008 Florida School Recognition award. The school ranked sixth in the county on the Science portion of the 2011 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), and earned a Gold Award from Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 2006 and 2007 acknowledging excellent performance. Mater Gardens has been accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) since 2009, and as part of the Mater Academy, Inc. district by AdvancED accreditation since 2011.

This past year, Doral Performing Arts & Entertainment Academy (DPAEA) was recognized by Daily Beast as one of “America’s Top 100 High Schools,” and by U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Top High Schools.” The school, which recently received its 7th consecutive school grade of "A" from the state of Florida, also ranks among the highest performing high schools in the state. DPAEA provides students with a rigorous academic education along with a performing arts program of their choice. Currently, the program offers visual arts, photography, acting, musical theater, dance, instrumental music, vocal music, or television production. Students may also begin their college coursework while in high school and even earn an associate degree at the same time as their high school diploma. DPAEA is located in the City of Doral (Miami-Dade County).

“We are incredibly proud of these schools,” said Robert Haag, President, Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools. “Their unique educational programs are making an impact in the communities they serve and the kids are number one benefactors. They are raising student achievement – even under the toughest circumstances, and encouraging us all to follow their lead.”

The Blue Ribbon Awards recognition ceremony is scheduled to take on November 10-11 in Washington, D.C. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program as bestowed this coveted award on just under 7,900 of America's schools. A complete list of 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools is available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools. # # #