Educators at Copeland Manor School in Libertyville and elsewhere across the suburbs erupted in excitement Thursday as they were announced as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017.
Twenty-five schools in Illinois, including several in the Chicago area, were named by the U.S. Department of Education as being among the best in academic performance or in closing achievement gaps among groups of students.
The awards have been given since 1982 to honor public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve high learning standards or make notable improvements, according to the Department of Education.
Copeland Manor's recognition means all five schools in Libertyville Elementary District 70 have achieved the distinction at some point.
"Each staff member is dedicated to making every day special," said Principal Lori Poelking. "Teachers work tirelessly to build meaningful relationships, provide innovative lessons and help students learn and grow daily."
Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville became the sixth Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school to win the recognition.
"Our students excel at a high level because they have the instruction and the skills to get there, and they also have teachers who inspire them," Principal Bob McBride said.
The school plans to celebrate the award during an assembly Nov. 21 that typically honors students who have received state or national awards for academics, sports or activities.
"Now every single person at the assembly has won a national award," McBride said.
Students and most staff members at Thomas Dooley Elementary School in Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 learned of their honor during a secretly prepared all-school assembly. The announcement was made by the Schaumburg school's principal, Beth Erbach, and District 54 board member Mary Kay Prusnick
"Dooley is an awesome place to be because of our parents and all the support they give us, the staff here and at the district office, and finally you -- our students -- because you work so hard here every single day," said Erbach.
The district released a video prepared for the announcement at youtube.com/watch?v=BIwkAgYlrdE.
Other suburban Blue Ribbon Schools winners are:
• Holy Family Catholic Academy in Inverness.
• Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School in Arlington Heights.
• Prairie Elementary School in Buffalo Grove.
• St. Gilbert Catholic School in Grayslake.
• St. Joseph Catholic School in Libertyville.
• Wheaton Christian Grammar School in Winfield.
• Charles J Caruso Middle School in Deerfield.
• Conrady Junior High School in Hickory Hills.
• Kipling Elementary School in Deerfield .
• Lemont High School in Lemont.
• McClure Junior High School in Western Springs.
• Romona Elementary School in Wilmette.
• St. Joseph School in Wilmette.
• Daily Herald staff writers Eric Peterson and Marie Wilson contributed to this report.