National Blue Ribbon School

Since 1982, the United States Department of Education has honored the nation’s most outstanding schools through the National Blue Ribbon Schools program. On September 28, 2017, , U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Lemont High School as one of 342 schools to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017, having been selected as an Exemplary High Performing School.

Less than one-half of one percent of the nation’s schools were honored as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Lemont High School was one of 25 schools from Illinois – and one of just two Illinois public high schools – to earn the honor in 2017. Those two high schools – Lemont High School and Neuqua Valley High School (Naperville) – were the first traditional public high schools in Illinois to receive National Blue Ribbon School accolades since 2010. Prior to this 2017, just 43 traditional public high schools in Illinois had received the honor since the inception of the program in 1982.

Additionally, Lemont High School, Neuqua Valley High School and Bloomington Central Catholic High School were the first Illinois high schools of any kind – including private schools, charter schools and magnet schools – to earn National Blue Ribbon School accolades since 2014.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests, while Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the previous five years.

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” DeVos said in her announcement of the honorees. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”

The U.S. Department of Education began the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program in 1982 to bring public attention to exemplary schools in the United States and to facilitate communication and the sharing of best practices within and among schools. The coveted award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. More than 8,500 schools have been recognized in the program’s 35-year history.

On November 6-7, 2017, the Department of Education celebrated with the 2017 National Blue Ribbon School honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department of Education invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

To earn the Exemplary High Performing Schools designation, schools must achieve in the top 15 percent of all schools in the state when ranked by student performance on the most recently administered English language arts and math state assessments, or by student performance on state assessments in combination with other student performance measures, such as attendance and/or graduation rates. The state may nominate a school only once within a five-year period.

Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at