Four South Dakota schools named 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021

CONTACT: Mary Stadick Smith, South Dakota Department of Education, 605-773-7228, or

Ruth Raveling, South Dakota Department of Education, 605-773-2593


Four South Dakota schools named 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools


PIERRE, S.D. – Four South Dakota schools are among 325 schools nationwide recognized by the U.S. Department of Education this week as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.


Congratulations to South Dakota’s 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools:


  • Arlington Elementary School
  • Gettysburg Middle School
  • Pinedale Elementary School (Rapid City)
  • O'Gorman High School, Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools (Sioux Falls)


“It’s great to see these outstanding schools celebrated in this way,” said Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson. “I commend the educators, students, and families for all their hard work in achieving the National Blue Ribbon Schools distinction.”


The U.S. Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates. All four of South Dakota’s 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools are recognized in the Exemplary High-Performing Schools category for being among their state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.


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 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.


Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon Schools 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. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.