"We are extremely proud to be the recipients of this prestigious award," said Superintendent Joe Kimmel.

Windber was the only area school given the award this year and one of two Pennsylvania public high schools on the list. A total of 18 Pennsylvania schools and 362 schools nationwide were named Blue Ribbon Award winners. In the past, Windber's elementary school was awarded a ribbon.


"There are many reasons for our continued success including a dedicated and passionate staff, hard-working students, and encouraging, supportive community and a board of directors who have a consistent, progressive and practical approach to education," Kimmel said.

The Department of Education cited Windber's high test scores in Advanced Placement courses, the Keystone Exam and the SAT, and its top School Performance Profile Rating.

"The National Blue Ribbon School Award is the highest honor that a school can have bestowed upon it by the U.S. Department of Education," a press release states. "'Exemplary High Performing High School' designation is reserved for schools that perform academically in the top 15% of all schools within their state based upon the performance of all their students in the most recently administered state assessments. High schools that are recognized must demonstrate exemplary levels of performance on state exams, high performance within student subgroups, and distinguished graduation rates."

Kimmel said the teachers and students have a work ethic that puts them above the rest.

"There's something special about Windber," he said.


Kimmel also lauded the district's school board members for their hard work, passion, insight and support.

Board treasurer Susan Layton said that the award is an honor and a testament to the staff, administration and students.

"It's a lot of hard work," she said. "We're doing things right in Windber."

She added that Windber also learns a lot from other schools for curriculum and other needs, and other district officials visit Windber.

To celebrate the award, the district designated November as Blue Ribbon Month and will have a month of activities for the students and staff.