Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary in Arlington Heights named Blue Ribbon School
Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School in Arlington Heights has been named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, officials said Thursday.
The award recognizes the K-5 school at 303 E. Olive St. for its academics and other schoolwide enrichment opportunities, detailed by the school staff in a winning application evaluated by national and state level judges.
School officials learned of the award Tuesday and since then have been spreading the news to staff, parents and students, and on social media. A formal announcement of all award winners by the Department of Education could be weeks away, as last year's awardees were not announced until late September.
An awards ceremony is planned for November in Washington, D.C., after which the school plans to have an assembly to celebrate the recognition.
Principal Becky FitzPatrick said academics played a part in the selection, as awardees must be in the top 15 percent of all Illinois schools in terms of assessment performance.
But FitzPatrick believes Olive-Mary Stitt's sense of community also played a part, including its robust parent teacher organization and school theme of "Kindness Rocks at OMS". One way that's manifesting itself currently is through a partnership with a school in Houston dealing with the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey.
"We look for opportunities to show kindness and serve others," FitzPatrick said.
And in the spirit of the school's motto, "Once an Owl, always an Owl," namesake Mary Stitt -- who served as principal from 1967 to 1992 -- has stayed in touch with the school.
Before FitzPatrick could deliver news about the award to Stitt this week, Stitt guessed that might be the case after having an earlier conversation with state Rep. David Harris at the Northwest Community Healthcare Wellness Center. Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican, supported the school's application for consideration by the state board of education.
Olive-Mary Stitt becomes the fifth Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 school to receive the award.