• Ten Missouri schools have received the prestigious 2015 Blue Ribbon designation, the U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday. Eight of them are public, and eight are in the St. Louis area. 

    The department selects the schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing the achievement gap among racial and economic groups of students. 

    The honored schools in the St. Louis area are: 

    • Ralph M. Captain Elementary, Clayton School District

    • Ladue Middle School, Ladue School District

    • Truman Middle School, Lindbergh Schools

    • McKelvey Elementary, Parkway School District

    • West Middle School, Parkway School District

    • Kennard Classical Junior Academy, St. Louis Public Schools

    • St. Louis University High School, Catholic

    • Nerinx Hall High School, Catholic

    Illinois has 16 private and public schools honored as 2015 Blue Ribbon Schools. Most are in or near Chicago. None are in the St. Louis area.  

    “Congratulations to the students, teachers, school staff and their communities for this tremendous accomplishment,” said Margie Vandeven, Missouri's Commissioner of Education. “These schools model the hard work taking place in our public schools across the state in preparing students with the necessary skills for success now and after graduation.”

    The six public schools also received Missouri's Gold Star honor earlier this year. 

    More than 7,500 schools nationwide have received the Blue Ribbon honor since the program began in 1982. This year, 285 public and 40 private schools have won the designation. The program is part of a larger effort to identify and spread knowledge about best school-leadership and teaching practices.

    Winners will be recognized in November at an awards ceremony in Washington.