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Nearly Three Million Students from over 30,000 Schools Recognized by the 2013 President's Education Awards Program

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The U.S. Department of Education announced today the 2013 President's Education Awards Program (PEAP) recipients, honoring nearly three million students from more than 30,000 public and private schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Each year K-12 students from across the country are eligible to receive individual recognition from President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for their achievements toward educational excellence and outstanding educational growth. The award includes a congratulatory letter and certificate signed by the President, the Secretary of Education and the school principal.

"The President's Education Award Program recognizes student achievement and hard work in the classroom," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "It honors students who meet high standards of academic excellence, while also rewarding students who work hard and give it their best shot, often overcoming tough obstacles to their learning."

The program has two categories that honor students graduating from elementary, middle or high schools:

- A gold seal certificate for educational excellence recognizes students' academic success in the classroom based on grade point average or school-specific criteria and standards, such as high motivation, initiative, integrity, intellectual depth, leadership qualities, and exceptional judgment; plus high scores on nationally normed achievement or state tests or recommendations from a teacher plus one other staff member;

- A silver seal certificate for outstanding educational achievement recognizes students' hard work, often in the face of special obstacles to their learning. A school's principal determines this award based on criteria developed at the school, such as showing outstanding growth, improvement, commitment, or intellectual development in particular subjects; demonstrating achievement in the arts; and demonstrating unusual commitment to learning in academics despite various obstacles.

The school's principal is the final authority on which students receive awards and determines the number of qualifying students based on eligibility and selection requirements. There is no limit on the number of awards, as long as students meet the criteria for each award.

PEAP started in 1983 and is sponsored by the Department, in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

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