Jefferson Elementary School in the Mankato Area Public School district and Northside Elementary School in the St. James Public School district have each been recognized by the US Department of Education. The two schools are part of a group of eight elementary schools in Minnesota named as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2020. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. 317 public and 50 private schools nationwide received the recognition.