Two Acadia Parish schools — Martin Petijean Elementary and South Crowley Elementary — have been honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools for their efforts to close the achievement gap among students over a five-year period.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools designation is an honor the U.S. Department of Education bestows on schools that are either high-performing or have closed achievement gaps, especially among minority or disadvantaged students. The two Acadia Parish elementary schools received the recognition for “exemplary achievement gap closing schools.”

Louisiana Department of Education officials announced that the two Acadia Parish schools and four other public schools in Louisiana received the distinction. Pointe-Aux-Chenes Elementary School in Terrebonne Parish was recognized as an “exemplary achievement gap closing school,” while “exemplary high-performing schools” were Baton Rouge Magnet High and LSU Laboratory School, both in East Baton Rouge Parish, and Benjamin Franklin High School in Orleans Parish.

Three private schools also received the Blue Ribbon recognition: St. Aloysius Catholic School and St. James Episcopal Day School, both of Baton Rouge, and St. Paul’s School, of Covington.

At Martin Petijean Elementary, the school was credited for strides made among students in first through third grades who come from predominately low-income families through a character and leadership development program called “Leader in Me.”

The student population at South Crowley Elementary overcame a poverty level 113.2 percent greater than the national average to excel academically and socially, state education officials said in a news release.

“We want to congratulate these schools and districts for earning this distinguished honor, proving again our students are as smart and capable as any in America,” state Superintendent John White said in a news release. “The outstanding efforts of the students, faculty and administration at these schools demonstrate the high level of academic achievement that can be accomplished with hard work, determination and a shared desire to succeed.”

A total of 335 schools — 285 public and 50 private — were recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools across the country.

The schools will be recognized during events held Nov. 9-10 in Washington, D.C.