Nike Elementary School in the Meramec Valley R-III School District was recognized as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School for academic excellence.

Located at 2264 Highway AP in Catawissa, Nike is one of eight schools in Missouri to earn the distinction.

Nationally, 349 schools in 47 states, plus Washington D.C., were honored in the Blue Ribbon School Program that has recognized excellence in education since 1982.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools in a live webinar Monday, Oct. 1.

The program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Nike Principal David Quanz, fourth-grade teacher Carol Shoemaker and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Carrie Schwierjohn will be on hand when the Department of Education formally recognizes the Blue Ribbon Schools at an awards ceremony Nov. 7-8 at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C.

“We’re excited to be invited to the awards ceremony,” Quanz said. “But more importantly, we’re excited that this honor demonstrates that we at Nike and the Meramec Valley R-III School District are doing things that we’re supposed to do.”

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools — schools demonstrating that all students can achieve at high levels.

More than 8,500 schools across the country have been presented with this coveted award in the last 36 years.

The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

The National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and a model for schools still striving for excellence,” Secretary DeVos said.