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Two GCPS schools honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools

September 19, 2023


    Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recognized Harris Elementary School and Pharr Elementary School as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023. Harris and Pharr Elementary are among a select group of 353 schools to receive the honor. The schools were selected based on their overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups on assessments. In all, eight schools in Georgia have been honored this year.Pharr Elementary School

     Dr. Shamarlas Allens, principal at Pharr Elementary, is humbled by the award. “This is a huge honor for our learning community,” he shares. “We are proud of the teaching and learning that takes place at Pharr Elementary. Success to us is hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence in education. We are excited about our school being a ‘Wonderful Place to be Making Magical Things Happen’ for our children, teachers, and families.”


     Dr. Erin Hahn, the principal at Harris Elementary, says the honor is fuel for continued success. “This community has such pride in our school and generations of families have attended Harris ES over the last 57 years,” Dr. Hahn explains, “It is recognition that we are doing great work for kids and having a positive impact on student achievement. This is motivation for us to keep going— continuing to create a community that puts kids first.”

     National Blue Ribbon Schools represent the full diversity of American schools and serve students of every background. Harris Elementary School The  leaders at these schools articulate a vision of   excellence and hold everyone to high standards. They demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning, and the schools value and support teachers and staff through meaningful professional education. Mr. Cardona says the teachers and leaders at schools like Pharr Elementary are examples for others to follow. “The leaders,   educators, and staff at our National Blue Ribbon Schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures that support students of all backgrounds to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally,” Mr. Cardona shares.   “As the Biden-Harris Administration partners with states and schools to accelerate academic success and transform educational opportunity in this country, we take tremendous pride in the achievements of these schools and their commitment to empowering educators, serving students, and engaging families.”  

     By being named a National Blue Ribbon School, Harris and Pharr Elementary Schools will each receive a National Blue Ribbon School flag, which can be displayed in the school’s entryway or on its flagpole, indicating to visitors that excellence thrives inside the school walls. “We can’t wait to receive that flag,” Dr. Hahn shares. “It will be a reminder of what we accomplished, but more importantly, the standard we have to live up to.”

     “Moving forward our goal is to ensure Pharr Elementary School will continue to be known for making magical things happen in a learning environment that is known as a wonderful place to be for students, teachers, parents, and school community members,” Dr. Allens says. “Each day we will continue to do our very best to maintain and build upon a strong vibrant learning community with high academic expectations and social development.”