GNO Collaborative Teachers

Benjamin Franklin High School Proud to Be Named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School

Date: September 22nd, 2021
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Benjamin Franklin High School Proud to Be Named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School

NEW ORLEANS (Sept. 21, 2021) – U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schoolsfor 2021, including Benjamin Franklin High School. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Secretary Cardona will make the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip, where he will visit an awardee school, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Ill.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

“We are honored to be chosen as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School,” said Head of School Dr. Patrick Widhalm. “Although we have won this award four times previously, somehow this time is especially meaningful given the challenging circumstances we have navigated over the past two years. In order to be meaningful, a tradition of excellence must be renewed for each generation of students. Congratulations to the outstanding faculty, staff, and students and thank you to parents and alumni. ” 

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:
Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Benjamin Franklin was chosen as an Exemplary High-Performing School and recognized for its diverse student body, commitment to academic rigor, and innovative student-led solutions.

“We are delighted to celebrate this achievement,” said Alea Cot, the president of Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education, the school’s governing board. “We are consistently impressed by the hard work and dedication of our students and faculty and staff. Even in a year unlike any other, our school community met every challenge they faced and came out stronger.”

For more information, please contact Eve Peyton at (504) 503-0062 or

About Benjamin Franklin High School

Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans’ most outstanding public charter school, has been preparing students for success through academic achievement since its founding in 1957. Consistently ranked as a “top public high school in the nation” by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, andBusiness Week, Franklin has received the highest School Performance School in Louisiana, making it the No. 1 public school in the state, year after year. Ben Franklin is repeatedly named a National Blue Ribbon School, producing Presidential and National Merit Scholars each year. The exceptional students, faculty, and staff at Ben Franklin are the best and the brightest in New Orleans. For more information, please visit
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