Eight South Bay and Peninsula schools are among 23 schools in California that the U.S. Department of Education has named national Blue Ribbon Schools for 2011-12.

The schools are Meyerholz in the Cupertino school district, Oak Avenue in the Los Altos School District, Hoover in the Palo Alto District, Millikin in the Santa Clara District, North Star Academy in the Redwood City District, Woodside in the Woodside District, and Durham and Hopkins in the Fremont Unified District. All are elementary schools except Hopkins, which is a junior high; North Star, which is grades 3 to 8; and Woodside, which is a K-8

The Blue Ribbon program honors schools that have high-achieving students or have made significant progress and helped to close the achievement gap. They were nominated for the award by top California Department of Education officials.

Winning schools will be honored next month at a national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

-- Sharon Noguchi, staff