The U.S. Department of Education named Beaufort’s Coosa Elementary School a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School today.
This is the third time a Beaufort County school has won a NBRS award, according to the historic database of over 9,000 schools nationally. Okatie Elementary School was named in 2013, and Beaufort Elementary in 1999.
Five of the 353 schools named nationwide were in South Carolina. Two were private and three were public. They are:
Coosa Elementary School in Beaufort (Pubic)
Ben Lippen School in Columbia (Public)
Sterling School in Greenville (Private)
Christ Our King-Stella Maris School in Mount Pleasant (Private)
Wren Elementary in Piedmont (Public)
The program began in 1982 and the first awards were given out in 1983. It recognizes schools in one of two categories: “Exemplary High-Performing Schools,” and “Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools.” Coosa Elementary was recognized for the former category, measured by state assessments. The school at minimum had to have top 15% math and reading scores in the state.
The National Blue Ribbon School status doesn’t expire and once awarded a school remains a National Blue Ribbon School.
“We are honored to be recognized nationally for this prestigious award,” Principal Melissa Pender said in a statement. “This award is reflective of the dedication put forth by all stakeholders- our faculty, staff, students, parents, and community members.”
Coosa Elementary School has about 450 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, and about 1 in 3 students are from military families. The school opened in 1998 and is named after the Coosaw American Indian tribe.
The school’s demographics are:
Black/African American: 18%
Two or more races: 8%
“This is a huge honor, not only for Coosa Elementary but for our entire school district,” Superintendent Frank Rodriguez said in a statement.