Three D203 elementaries Named National Blue Ribbon Schools


Jake Pfeiffer

Elmwood Elementary School was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Javen Oswald, Opinions Editor

Three District 203 elementary schools were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools on Sept. 16. 

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program awarded Elmwood, Highlands and Steeple Run Elementaries based on students’ academic performance or growth. Since schools were unable to administer standardized testing during the 2019-2020 school year, schools applied using students’ results from 2018-2019 . 

The National Blue Ribbon is an award given to schools by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The purpose of the award is to acknowledge schools that demonstrate academic excellence. 

Schools are chosen by either having high academic performance or an exemplary achievement gap. At least one third of the student population must be from disadvantaged backgrounds.

District 203 mentioned in a press release that it won the most Blue Ribbons out of any Illinois district.

According to the press release, “[They] are proud to announce that three Naperville 203 schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools.”

The district released a video where each principal spoke about the strengths of their schools and why they were recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools. A major component in each principal’s explanation was the positive community fostered both inside and outside of school.

“As we embarked on that reflection, we found that our community, how we come together not only in extracurricular activities but to support our students is what sets us apart,” Steeple Run principal John Lewis said.

Elmwood principal Matt Langes shared this sentiment. This award is the reflection of the culmination of years of work. One aspect of that was building a strong community.

“Some of the things that I think makes Elmwood a great school and a great learning community to be a part of, it really starts at that social-emotional level, ” Langes said. “Our motto here is ‘you belong,’ so we try to encourage that every single student has a place here at Elmwood.”

The positive community created at Elmwood is also in part due to the work of the staff.

“No matter what [grade] level they walk in these doors, we have staff here that are willing to meet them where they’re at and help them grow for the best,” Langes said.

It was never a goal of Langes’ to win a Blue Ribbon award, but he is happy the Elmwood community can be recognized for their hard work. In the future, he sees the community continuing to be involved and pushing for the best. 

“What’s not going to change, we are going to keep bringing new ideas to help kids learn and feel like [they’re] valued, and they belong at Elmwood,” Langes said.