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Published: May 31, 2011

Excellence in Education programs

A series of programs established in 1982 by the U.S. Department of Education “to identify and publicly recognize unusually successful public schools and, through publicity and other means, encourage others to emulate their successful programs, policies and practices.” Originally limited to junior high and high schools, the program was extended in 1985 to include primary schools. Directed by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, the program sends teams of educators and other authorities in education to examine each school for two days. The 14 key “attributes for success” that the teams search for in each school are clear academic goals, high expectations for students, order and discipline, rewards and incentives for students, regular and frequent monitoring of student progress, opportunities for meaningful student responsibility and participation, teacher efficiency, rewards and incentives for teachers, concentration on academic learning time, positive school climate, administrative leadership, well-articulated curriculum, evaluation for instructional improvement and community support and involvement. The teams then examine each school’s educational outcomes, including achievement test, attendance rates, drop-out rates, suspensions and other exclusions and awards for recognition of outstanding programs and individual performance.