The Iowa Department of Education announced today that five Iowa public schools have been identified by the U.S. Department of Education as 2010 Blue Ribbon Schools.

The Iowa schools are:

  • Bedford Elementary School, Bedford Community School District, Taylor County
  • Kee High School, Eastern Allamakee Community School District, Allamakee County
  • Lincoln Elementary School, Cedar Falls Community School District, Blackhawk County
  • McKinley Elementary School, Muscatine Community School District, Muscatine County
  • West Elementary, Knoxville Community School District, Marion County

The Blue Ribbon award is given to public and private elementary, middle and high schools that show high levels of achievement or have made significant progress in closing the achievement gap. Each year since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds.

The schools are chosen based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools whose students, regardless of backgrounds, are high performing; and 2) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally-normed tests.