Jose Ortega Elementary Named a National Blue Ribbon School

The elementary school is among California’s highest performing as measured by state assessments, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Jose Ortega Elementary Named a National Blue Ribbon School
The elementary school was one of three schools in the city awarded for excellence this year. | Courtesy SFUSD

The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday Ingleside’s own Jose Ortega Elementary School was one of 353 schools recognized for academic performance or progress closing the achievement gap.

Ulloa Elementary School and John Yehall Chin Elementary School joined Jose Ortega Elementary in representing San Francisco Unified School District as a National Blue Ribbon Schools winner. All were awarded based on their academic performance, meaning that they are among California’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

“Jose Ortega Elementary is a beacon of educational excellence, dedicated to nurturing students into empowered critical thinkers, enthusiastic learners, and independent knowledge seekers,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. “The school's unwavering commitment to fostering holistic growth is exemplified through its innovative approach to education.

“At Jose Ortega Elementary, the cultivation of critical thinking skills takes center stage. Through engaging and thought-provoking curricula, students are encouraged to analyze, question, and evaluate information from multiple perspectives. This approach enhances their academic prowess and equips them with the analytical tools necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing world.”

Jose Ortega Elementary has 384 students, with 58% identifying as Asian and nearly one-fifth identifying as two or more races. The principal at time of nomination was Benjamin Klaus, who has since been replaced by Paula Antram.

“The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to Raise the Bar in education,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “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.”

The U.S. Department of Education invites top education officials to put forward worthy schools and accepts up to 420 school nominations each year. California had 33 schools win blue ribbons this year.

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