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Neely Traditional Academy named 2023 National Blue Ribbon School

Gold celebrating the best of GPS!

A young girl with glasses smiles for the camera at her school desk.The US Department of Education recently announced its 40th cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools. Neely Traditional Academy was among the selected few, representing the state of Arizona and Gilbert Public Schools.

“We were super excited about the A+ School of Excellence® recognition this past April, but this is on a national level,” said Principal Jennifer Greene. 

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program celebrates schools for their overall excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. This is the second time that Neely has received the honor. The first time was 14 years ago in 2009. 

“Typically in Arizona, we have only had a handful of elementary schools each year get it, so it’s not common to repeat an award, particularly for an elementary school,” Greene said. 

The US Department of Education only selects up to 420 schools to be nominated each year. Arizona’s top education officials submit their nominations based upon criteria and then the journey begins. 

“It’s been a six-month process,” Greene said.

Neely Traditional Academy was established in 1999, offering the traditional model to students and families. This school year, Neely serves approximately 860 students, with 14 different languages represented. The school provides a rigorous educational experience, with high expectations for students in academics, performing arts, physical education and technology. Instruction also focuses on character development, and Greene says there is an emphasis on community building among students, families and staff. 

“The parents choose for their kids to come here, but my goal is for the kids to want to be here and stay here,” Greene said. 

U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Schools seal for the year 2023.As part of their recognition, Neely will be celebrated at a ceremony in Washington, DC later this year. Superintendent Dr. Shane McCord, Principal Greene and a Neely teacher will travel to our nation’s capital to be recognized by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. 

“I’m just a representation of Neely. I wish more of our teachers and support staff could go. When we come back here to celebrate, I want it to be something considerable,” Greene said. 

Neely has also been recognized as an A+ School of Excellence® by the Arizona Educational Foundation. In 2022, Neely was ranked 8th on the list of Best Elementary Schools in Arizona by U.S. News & World Report. 

To learn more about Neely Traditional Academy,  schedule a school tour or enroll today!

Written by Kailey Latham, Photo by Jonason Pauley