KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Two Defense Department schools in Europe have been named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

Boeblingen Elementary/Middle School in Boeblingen and SHAPE Elementary School in Mons, Belgium, received the honor for overall academic excellence, Department of Defense Education Activity officials said in a news release Monday. Also given the honor for overall academic excellence was DODEA’s Charles Turner Joy Elementary/Middle School in Chinhae, South Korea.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the 219 public and 50 private Blue Ribbon schools for this year at a ceremony Friday at Arlington (Va.) Traditional Elementary School.

“We are so honored to have three of our schools recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools by the Department of Education,” Marilee Fitzgerald, DODEA director, was quoted in the news release as saying. “We want every child to have a great teacher, every school to have a great principal and every school to be high performing. These DODEA schools demonstrate these qualities each and every day and set the bar for excellence in education.”

It is the most DODEA schools recognized in any one year, DODEA officials said.

The Department of Education bestows the honor on schools for either having high academic achievement, as measured by performance on state assessments or nationally normed tests, or for showing significant improvement on standardized tests, according to education officials. In the latter category, that progress must be demonstrated by at least 40 percent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In its 30-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Program has bestowed the award on nearly 7,000 U.S. schools.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now