September 19, 2023 Update from the Mayor

September 19, 2023 Update from the Mayor

Congratulations to School District 117 on Receiving Another National Blue Ribbon Award !


Oak Ridge Named Blue Ribbon School

Students Erupt in Applause After Learning School Named Blue Ribbon Winner

The U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced (September 19) that Oak Ridge School has been named a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School.

Schools are nominated by their state’s department of education and then complete a comprehensive application about their school’s practices to apply for the honor.

National Blue Ribbon Schools are on education’s cutting edge, pioneering innovative educational practices from professional learning communities and project-based learning to social and emotional learning and positive behavior systems. In identifying several hundred outstanding schools annually, the program celebrates school excellence, turnaround stories, and closing subgroup achievement gaps.

The second- through fifth-grade school in Palos Hills (Ill) is among an exclusive group of just 353 public schools in the U.S. receiving the honor in 2023.

“We are so proud of the students, staff, and entire Oak Ridge and NPD117 Professional Learning Community.” said Dr. Jeannie Stachowiak, Superintendent of Schools. “Our team believes in high expectations for all, and it shows in everything we do at Oak Ridge and throughout the district.

“We are always asking each other what we can do to help students reach their full potential. I am thrilled that the hard work, passion, collaborative spirit, and “do whatever it takes” attitude at Oak Ridge is now recognized nationally,” she said. “Everyone at Oak Ridge deserves this amazing award!”

Oak Ridge Principal Stephanie Johnson called it “an honor to continue to lead Oak Ridge School.”

“This recognition is a testament to the hard work of all the students, staff, and families. Our staff is diligent in ensuring that students have what they need to be successful both academically and emotionally,” Johnson said. “Oak Ridge has a positive culture built on high expectations, and we are so proud of our school community.”

Kevin Buscemi, current Director of Recruitment and Retainment and previous Oak Ridge principal shared, “What I love about the Blue Ribbon Award is that it’s not an overnight success story. It takes many years of hard work from all of the students, staff, and families learning and growing together every single day. I could not be happier for the entire Oak Ridge community – past and present – that was recognized today as a National Blue Ribbon School.”

Two other district schools, Glen Oaks School and Conrady Junior High School, have also received the National Blue Ribbon. Glen Oaks was awarded in 2012 and again in 2019 while Conrady Junior High was awarded in 2017.

Both Oak Ridge and Glen Oaks Schools were also named Model Professional Learning Community schools in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

The other two district schools, Dorn and Sorrick Elementary Schools, are not eligible for the National Blue Ribbon because they do not serve students in grades 3 or higher. However, both Dorn and Sorrick have received the state’s Gold Circle of Excellence Awards.

District and school staff will represent Oak Ridge School at the National Blue Ribbon Awards’ ceremony in Washington, D.C., to receive this prestigious award.

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