Making the grade: Suburban schools receive Blue Ribbon designations

Twenty Illinois schools, including several in suburban districts, were named Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

The list, released Tuesday, includes 353 schools across the country and marks the 40th anniversary of Blue Ribbon recognition.

"This prestigious honor reflects the dedication of our outstanding educators, the hard work of our students and the support of our community," Northwest Suburban High School District 214 Superintendent Scott Rowe said of Prospect High School's recognition. "We're committed to excellence in education, and this recognition inspires us to continue striving for excellence in all that we do."

Other suburban schools named National Blue Ribbon winners include Arnett C. Lines Elementary School in Barrington, Ellsworth Elementary School in Naperville, Geneva Community High School, Northbrook Junior High School, Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, St. Joan of Arc School in Lisle, Roundout Elementary School in Lake Forest and St. Francis High School in Wheaton.

"The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to raise the bar in education," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a news release.

Arnett C. Lines Elementary School in Barrington is a three-time winner. The school also received the Blue Ribbon designation in 1994 and 2008.

Ellsworth Elementary School is the fourth school in two years to earn the Blue Ribbon distinction in Naperville Unit District 203. In 2022, Elmwood, Steeple Run and Highlands elementary schools received the award.

"Our entire school community works together to create such a warm, vibrant and engaging environment for our students," Ellsworth Principal Kim Rutan said. "Every single one of us is 'all in' and fully invested in our quest to nurture and inspire our students to ensure the brightest possible future for all of them."

St. Francis High School is the only private high school to make the Blue Ribbon list in Illinois this year.

"This extremely competitive and prestigious award is a testament to the tradition of excellence our school has prided itself on for more than 65 years," said Phil Kerr, school president.

Glenbrook High School District 225 Superintendent noted the staff at Glenbrook High School worked to address student mental health needs. The high school was among the first large comprehensive high schools to train every student and staff member using the National Council For Mental Health's first aid model.

"This recognition illuminates our strong history and validates the constant pursuit of innovation and excellence by our teachers, administrators and students," Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction Ed Solis said.

An awards ceremony will be held in November in Washington, D.C., to honor all the Blue Ribbon schools.

  Geneva Community High School is one of four high schools in Illinois named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Rick West/, 2018
St. Francis High School in Wheaton is the only private high school in Illinois to be named a 2023 Blue Ribbon school. Daily Herald file photo
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