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Five Arkansas schools -- one each in Eudora, Fayetteville, Little Rock, Russellville and Springdale -- are among the nation's newly named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Thursday.

The 38-year-old award program honors public and private schools for either their overall academic achievement or for the progress a school has made in closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students.

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

In Arkansas, the honorees are:

Exemplary High Performing Schools

• Bernice Young Elementary School in the Springdale School District.

• Jefferson Elementary School in the Little Rock School District.

• Saint Joseph Catholic School (Fayetteville) in the Diocese of Little Rock.

Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools

• Crawford Elementary School in the Russellville School District.

• Eudora Elementary School in the Lakeside School District (Chicot County).

"These schools serve as role models to all schools in the state and demonstrate the importance of providing an excellent education to all students," Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key said in a statement.

Nationally, the federal Education Department recognized 367 schools -- 317 public schools and 50 non-public schools in 47 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Alabama at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Germany and Japan -- as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020.

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