COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Columbia Elementary in Colorado Springs is one of five schools state-wide being recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education for improving student achievement.

Colorado Springs School District 11 says Columbia has been designated a Blue Ribbon School for 2013 by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Columbia will receive a plaque and a flag at the Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony, which is scheduled for November 18 - 19 in Washington, D.C.

“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said Secretary Duncan. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

The program recognizes schools 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.