STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – DeKalb Early College Academy (DECA) was one of 367 schools nationwide recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced yesterday.

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. DECA is the sixth school in DeKalb County School District (DCSD) since 2005 and the first high school since 2009 to receive the recognition of being a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

“Congratulations to DeKalb Early College Academy on this great achievement,” said DCSD Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris. “We are proud of the accomplishments of DECA’s scholars and faculty. DCSD is home to excellent schools and DECA is among the best.”

Regional Superintendent Dr. Michelle Jones said, “We Expect More in Region IV! We celebrate with DECA, one of seven early college models in the state, in this high honor. It is a testament to the hard work of the entire school and the high-performance learning culture they have worked hard to sustain.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.

The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Education Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education.

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13, 2020. DECA will receive a plaque and flag via mail.