African Road Elementary School, Vestal

U. S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized African Road Elementary School in Vestal on Thursday as one of 362 schools to be named National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.


The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ level of achievement. Schools are recognized in one of two performance categories.

The first category is “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

This is the second time that a Vestal Central School District elementary school has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. In 2012, Vestal Hills Elementary was also recognized as an Exemplary High Performing School.

In its 37-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 American schools. To select a school as a National Blue Ribbon School, the Department requests nominations from the top education official in every state.

African Road Elementary School Principal Meghan Stenta is one of 312 public school and 50 private school principals invited to the National awards ceremony on November 14 and 15, 2019, in Washington, D.C. “This award is a great honor for the entire African Road Elementary (ARE) School community. Academic excellence is achieved when dedicated educators, families and community members work together to create systems that support educating the whole child. Our ARE team continuously works together with our families and our students, helping them work diligently to meet high expectations – academically, socially and emotionally,” said Principal Stenta.