BISMARCK — The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday, Sept. 21, named six schools in Minnesota and three in North Dakota as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The annual awards recognize public and private schools based on their academic performance and for closing achievement gaps among students.

Across the country, 325 schools received the honor, including six in Minnesota:

  • Barnesville Elementary School, Barnesville School District
  • Roosevelt Middle School, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • Twin Lakes Elementary School, Elk River School District
  • Minnetonka West Middle School, Minnetonka School District
  • McKinley Elementary School, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • St. Croix Preparatory Academy Middle School, St. Croix Preparatory Academy

Three schools in North Dakota were named 2021 blue ribbon schools:

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  • Valley-Edinburg Elementary School, Crystal, Valley-Edinburg Public School District
  • Roosevelt Elementary School, Mandan School District 1
  • Wyndmere Public School, Wyndmere Public School District

"I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. "In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children."

In November, the blue ribbon schools will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., where they will get a plaque and honorary blue flag to display at their schools.