Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Key Drivers – A Closer Look at 2016

What one practice has been most instrumental to your school’s success? 2016 NBRS awardee application responses were analyzed to find commonalities, broad themes, and potential demographic differences.

The infographic captures four key drivers of National Blue Ribbon School success. Nearly two thirds (65%) of the responses named either Student Supports (34%) or Instruction (31%), while 23% named school structure and 12% identified curriculum. The infographic also provides snapshots of example practices and schools in each key driver. Links to the NBRS website provide a closer look at each example school.
To view a downloadable/print version Click Here To view the demographic statistical overview for 2016 Click Here

2016 infographic
2016 infographic
2016 infographic


Oak Grove School, Green Oaks, IL
Social Emotional Learning instruction provides students, families, and staff with dedicated time focused on empathy, compassion, and creating a positive environment.

Anna Reynolds Elementary School, Newington, CT
Promoting positive citizenship and school climate are reinforced by using a kindness “Bucket Filling” strategy.

Springfield Estates Elementary School, Springfield, VA
Deliberate teaching of social and emotional skills and values during daily Morning Meeting strengthens student-teacher connections individually, culturally, and developmentally.


York Suburban Senior High School, York, PA
High standards and expectations are never put forth without a plan to support and encourage students. Teachers talk about growth as much as achievement.

Devinny Elementary School, Lakewood, CO
A growth mindset framework encourages teachers to model resilience, showing students that through perseverance, mastery of learning will occur.

New Mexico School for the Arts, Santa Fe, NM
In Ninth Grade Academy freshmen learn how problem-solving, perseverance, endurance, and collaboration apply to their academic classes as well as their art studies.

2016 infographic


Thornhill Elementary School, Oakland, CA
Creating, implementing, and analyzing Focal Student Plans in reading allows teachers to identify proficiency levels and develop instruction and intervention plans.

Pickering Valley Elementary School, Chester Springs, PA
Applying an 8-step cycle for using data drives building-centered goals, grade level goals, small-group goals, and individual student goals.

Mesa Elementary School, Clovis, NM
Analyzing data at the classroom and grade level allows teachers to reflect on their own teaching, resulting in more effective instruction.


Westlake High School, Westlake Village, CA
Students have daily access to Academic Support Centers that utilize a peer tutoring model.

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, Louisville, KY
Teachers and parent volunteers help students lacking strong family support complete assignments.

Rosemeade Elementary School, Carrollton, TX
Daily “Roadrunner” time involves students in differentiated instructional groups for remediation or enrichment.

2016 infographic


Edison Computech 7-8 School, Fresno, CA
Facilitating consensus-based management, the campus is interconnected through team committees and utilizes proposals and simple voting to ensure ownership, accountability and buy-in across stakeholders.

St. Joseph Catholic School, Marietta, GA
Constant collegial communication provides faculty the opportunity to improve instructional practices and the flexibility to introduce new, creative, and exciting programs.


Bald Creek Elementary School, Burnsville, NC
A 9-year turnaround has changed the school philosophy, vision, personnel, curriculum, instruction, student expectations, technology, parent involvement, and the facility.

Avoyelles Public Charter School, Mansura, LA
The application process for new teachers includes an interview to determine if they will love a child enough to invest their time and talents to make a difference and inspire a student to reach their potential.

2016 infographic


Barrington High School, Barrington, RI
A writing program’s emphasis on integrating text-based evidence into informational and argumentative writing assignments has improved students’ ability to read, comprehend, and write about complex texts across all core subjects.Southern Columbia Area High School, Catawissa, PA
Although small, the school’s partnerships with local universities and community colleges have enabled it to enhance the curriculum and offer post-secondary credit.


Big Apple Academy, Brooklyn, NY
Students performance in ELA has improved due to a signature Vocabulary Acquisition Program that includes vocabulary blocks, activities, and weekly/monthly assessments.

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Lawrenceville, GA
A required 4-year internship experience includes a rigorous career day, a job readiness workshop, semester and yearlong internships, and student presentations.