A Defense Department elementary school in South Korea has been named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Charles Turner Joy Elementary/Middle School in Chinhae, South Korea, received the honor for overall academic excellence, Department of Defense Education Activity officials said in a news release.

In all, 269 Blue Ribbon schools were honored by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during a ceremony held Sept. 7 at the Arlington Traditional Elementary School in Virginia.

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.

Boeblingen Elementary/Middle School in Boeblingen, Germany, and SHAPE Elementary School in Mons, Belgium, were also recognized.

“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.”

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