Schools are chosen based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. Hattie Watts was chosen as a high performing school with at least a 40 percent disadvantaged population.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria:
—Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally-normed tests.
—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.
Before selecting National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education asks for nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools.
A total of 413 schools nationwide are nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each jurisdiction. The schools then are invited by the Secretary of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
The five other Louisiana schools chosen this year are in Shreveport, Natchitoches, Many, Metairie and Alexandria.
The Department of Education will honor the entire group of 256 public and 49 private schools with their National Blue Ribbon School awards at a conference and awards ceremony Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.