Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program
recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement. A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag overhead has become a mark of excellence in education recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities.
Using standards of excellence evidenced by student achievement measures and research-based indicators of school quality, the Department celebrates high-performing schools and schools with a high percentage of students from disadvantaged backgrounds that significantly improve whole-school test scores and student subgroup test scores. National Blue Ribbon Schools are honored at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC, where each receives a plaque and flag to signify its exemplary status.