TREMONT — Tremont Grade School joined the ranks of the country's best schools Monday when it was named a National Blue Ribbon School.
Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than 8,800 schools as either exemplary high performing or exemplary achievement gap closing. This year, 348 public and private schools made the list.
Tremont was selected for high performance, having tested in the top 15 percent of schools in reading and math standardized tests in the last year.
But Principal Becky Hansen said test scores are not her biggest priority — the most important thing for her and her teachers is the well-being of the students.
“We have a really strong relationship with our students because they know that we care about them not just as students, but as people,” she said.
In her five years as principal, Hansen said she hasn’t done anything different to set this year apart, but the school has been working to align the curriculum “and now it’s all come together.”
Tremont was the only elementary school in the Tri-County area chosen this year. The school joins Tazewell County’s list of seven schools previously recognized with the Blue Ribbon.
Peoria Christian High School was also selected this year and made history as the first ribboned high school in the county.
With 16 public schools and eight private schools honored, Illinois tied with Texas for the most schools recognized for 2018.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos invited representatives from all of the nominated schools to celebrate the achievement at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., next month.
Kelsey Watznauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @kwatznauer.