Adlai E. Stevenson High School has been selected to receive its fifth National Blue Ribbon Schools Award from the U.S. Department of Education, making it only the sixth school in the country to receive the honor.
“The fifth Blue Ribbon is an extraordinary accomplishment and underlines our drive to be a professional learning community,” said District 125 Board of Education President Steven Frost. “We’ve long had the motto of ‘Success For Every Student,’ and this honor affirms the important work that’s been taking place in our school since 2002.”
Stevenson is one of 362 schools — 312 public and 50 private — recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance, or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Stevenson was honored as an Exemplary High Performing Schools, for being among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
Two schools in Stevenson’s sender districts also earned Blue Ribbon status: Ivy Hall Elementary School in District 96 and Hawthorn Elementary School South in District 73.
Stevenson also earned Blue Ribbon awards in 1987, 1991, 1998 and 2002. This is the 37th year of the Blue Ribbon Schools program.
Stevenson joins these schools as five-time recipients:
- Edison Computech 7-8 School in Fresno, Calif.
- Gretchen Whitney High School in Cerritos, Calif.
- Lowell High School in San Francisco, Calif.
- Horace Mann Elementary School in the District of Columbia
- Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, La.
In its 2019 application, Stevenson officials highlighted several changes that have occurred at the school since its last Blue Ribbon honor in the 2001-02 school year. Changes include:
- A deep focus on social and emotional learning growth in students.
- A shift away from traditional grading practices toward a standards-based system.
- An expansion of academic support services for students struggling in their courses.
- Withdrawal from the Special Education District of Lake County and the return of almost all special education students to SHS for the entire school day.
- Moving to a later school start time each morning to ensure more sleep for students, and more time to seek academic assistance.
- Providing more fitness choices to students in Physical Education courses.
- Overhauling food and drink offerings in the school cafeterias to reduce added sugars and simple carbohydrates.
“This recognition from the United States Department of Education underscores our commitment to continuous improvement at Stevenson,” said Dr. Eric Twadell, superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson High School District 125. “This fifth Blue Ribbon is the culmination of years of hard work by our teachers and staff, and we could not be more thankful for and proud of their extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students.”
Stevenson HS and the other 2019 Blue Ribbon Award recipients will be honored by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education at awards ceremonies Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.