September 21, 2021

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  – West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) President Miller Hall and Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch are honored to recognize three public schools named today by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Rock Branch Elementary in Putnam County; Crescent Elementary in Raleigh County; and Criss Elementary in Wood County all received the distinction as exemplary high-performing schools, meaning they are among West Virginia’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally standardized tests.

The state’s Blue Ribbon honorees join the ranks of 325 public schools nationwide that earned the recognition this year. Additionally, they are among the more than 9,000 schools to earn the award over the past 39 years. The USDE has issued approximately 10,000 awards during this time, and schools are eligible to be considered for nomination again after five years.

“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 U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “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. 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.”

“It is an understatement to say these schools have gone above and beyond to earn the National Blue Ribbon award. The fact they were able to participate in this competitive process during this time while still caring for their children is impressive,” said President Hall. “As a former school administrator, I know the learning, love and long-standing dedication we pour into the lives of our students. These three schools have illustrated that during the pandemic, the greater the need of their children, the greater their work and devotion to their school and community. On behalf of the State Board, I congratulate them all for a job well-done.”

“These awards are another reminder of the role our schools play in the lives of our children, schools and communities,” said Superintendent Burch. “The West Virginia Department of Education is so very pleased with the extraordinary commitment to student health, progress and well-being these schools have exemplified to earn this national honor. They have faced incredible challenges to not only teach our children, but also to care for them during interruptions to in-person learning and inconsistent school schedules. Yet, they have excelled locally and nationally to earn this most-coveted national education recognition­­­­­­­­.”

Visit to learn more about the Blue Ribbon Schools.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or by emailing

Follow the WVDE on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.