September 09, 2010

School Without Walls Named 2010 National Blue Ribbon School 

U.S. Dept. of Education Secretary Duncan joins Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee at Northwest DC, school for announcement of prestigious award

Contact: Frederick Lewis | (202) 442-5919

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, School Without Walls (SWW), a college-preparatory public high school in the District, was named a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School, a distinction by the U.S. Department of Education that ranks it among the highest achieving schools nationwide.

Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and George Washington University Provost Steven Lerman today at SWW to announce that the District high school is among more than 300 public and private schools nationwide to earn the Blue Ribbon recognition this year.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes and honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students.

“School Without Walls is a perfect example of what District schools can achieve,” said Mayor Fenty. “SWW consistently aims high and illustrates what our students can do when challenged by a professional staff with high expectations. As the Administration continues to successfully build upon our public education initiative, parents and residents can expect to see even more achievement and academic gains to come.”

School Without Walls joins two other DCPS schools – Noyes and Murch elementary schools – to earn the distinction over the past three years.

SWW was chosen because it is a high-performing school where all students achieve at high levels. The school offers a rigorous college-preparatory and early college program to a diverse student population, and its partnership with George Washington University has resulted in opportunities for juniors and seniors to take college courses while earning a high school diploma.

With an enriched curriculum and focus on academic rigor, 100 percent of SWW’s graduates are accepted to four-year colleges and universities and receive between $3 million and $6 million a year in scholarships and awards.

“Congratulations to School Without Walls Principal Richard Trogisch and his dedicated staff for this well-deserved honor,” said DCPS Chancellor Rhee. “School Without Walls has made incredible strides academically over the past three years, and the school’s partnership with The George Washington University ensures that our students not only achieve at the highest levels in secondary school but also succeed at the college level.”

Currently 20 SWW students are enrolled full-time at GWU, earning college credit at no cost. DCPS pays the cost of textbooks – upwards of $500 each – to support these extremely hard-working and motivated students in their efforts toward high achievement at the college level.

Following the 2010 Blue Ribbon announcement today, Secretary Duncan, Mayor Fenty, and Chancellor Rhee participated in a panel discussion with SWW students enrolled in the Dual-Enrollment Program with GW.

In addition to the rigorous academics, the school – which reopened in the 2009-2010 school year after a complete renovation – features modern amenities, advanced technological resources and meets the U.S. Green Building Council’s Gold Standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

School Without Walls’s progress and distinction as a Blue Ribbon School is underscored by its ranking among other high schools nationwide. In 2007, it was ranked 734 in Newsweek magazine’s annual list of the top 1,000 high schools in the country. This year, Newsweek ranked School Without Walls at 112.

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