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Four Mississippi schools named 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools


For Immediate Release: September 16, 2022

JACKSON, Miss. – Today, four schools in Mississippi were among the 297 schools across the nation named as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2022 by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Secretary Cardona made the announcement during his Road to Success Back to School bus tour.

The Mississippi schools named as National Blue Ribbon Schools were:

  • Florence Elementary School, Rankin County School District
  • Hayes Cooper Center, Cleveland School District
  • Petal High School, Petal School District
  • Oak Grove Lower Elementary School, Lamar County School District

“National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as exceptional models for improving student outcomes, closing achievement gaps and implementing effective teaching methods,” said Dr. Kim Benton, state superintendent of education, interim. “I congratulate Mississippi’s 2022 honorees, including all teachers, administrators, and community stakeholders, who collectively invest in students’ overall success.”

With its 39th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for – and attaining – exemplary achievement.

National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation. A National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing a school’s entryway or on a flagpole is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

“I applaud all the honorees for the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award for creating vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school communities where students can learn, grow, reach their potential, and achieve their dreams,” Cardona said. “As our country continues to recover from the pandemic, we know that our future will only be as strong as the education we provide to all of our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have gone above and beyond to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. These schools show what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives.”

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

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

Hayes Cooper Center and Petal High School were recognized as Exemplary High-Performing Schools. Florence Elementary School and Oak Grove Lower Elementary School were recognized as Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Department of Education invites  nominations for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at

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Media Contact:

Jean Cook, APR
Chief of Communication

Shanderia Minor
Public Information Officer