Eastview Elementary School in Algonquin recently was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S Department of Education.
Eastview Principal James Zursin said the school never has received this honor.
He also said it only is the second school in Algonquin to get the honor. Kenneth E. Neubert Elementary School was the first in 1985.
The Illinois State Board of Education nominates schools based on those that have met specific eligibility criteria.
The Department of Education recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. These are based on student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates, according to a news release sent from the department.
These are “Exemplary High Performing” and “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing.” Eastview was chosen as Exemplary High Performing.
Exemplary High Performing schools have their state’s highest high school graduation rates and the top 15% highest-achieving students in English and mathematics, measured by their state’s assessments.
Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools. On Nov. 14 and 15, the secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 nonpublic school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“I’m very excited for the students, the staff and definitely the parents,” Zursin said. “It’s a great award for all the hard work they’ve done.”
The school was told in the winter that they were nominated. Then came the “pretty lengthy” application process, Zursin said.
“It really was a team effort by staff and teachers,” he said. “We’ve been so excited for so long.”
Zursin compared waiting to see whether the school was a Blue Ribbon School to “waiting for Christmas.”
“We thought our chances were pretty good,” he said. “You never know until you actually win.”
Once the announcement was made, teachers talked to students about what the Blue Ribbon award means, Zursin said.
“It really is a student award because they’re the ones that did a lot of work with teachers to get to this place,” he said.
Zursin said he, Community School District 300 Superintendent Fred Heid and a teacher “to be determined” will be attending the ceremony.
Last year, Eastview was ranked by Chicago Magazine as the top elementary school in Kane County, according to the Blue Ribbon website.
The article said Eastview was named a “Spotlight School,” which is an ISBE honor recognizing a high-poverty school with “excellent performance” four times in the past 13 years.
Eastview had the lowest per-pupil expenditure out of the top 10 schools recognized, the magazine reported.