Westchester Elementary School staff and students sport their blue and form the shape of a ribbon for an aerial photo taken in honor of Westchester being named a National Blue Ribbon School. 

Westchester Elementary in the Kirkwood School District is one of only eight St. Louis area schools – and among 362 schools in the country – to earn the 2019 National Blue Ribbon Award.

This is the second time Westchester Elementary has received the prestigious recognition, making it one of only 13 schools in Missouri to be awarded the National Blue Ribbon twice. The first time was in 2007.

The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Westchester Elementary Principal Bo Ricker compared the accomplishment to the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup when he shared the news with students.

“Just like the Blues are the best team in the country and won the Stanley Cup, Westchester is one of the best schools in the country and has been awarded the National Blue Ribbon,” Ricker said. “The National Blue Ribbon award is like the Stanley Cup for schools.”

To tie in with that analogy, students got a surprise visit from St. Louis Blues Mascot Louie during a recent school assembly. Students and staff also sported blue shirts and formed the shape of a ribbon for an aerial photo marking Westchester’s accomplishment.

There will be a national ceremony to honor Blue Ribbon Schools in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14-15. Westchester Principal Ricker, Westchester fourth grade teacher Brigette Ryan and Bryan Painter, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Kirkwood School District, will travel to Washington for the ceremony.

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives.

“As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a video message to the recipients.

In addition to Westchester Elementary, the other Missouri schools to receive the 2019 National Blue Ribbon include Becky-David Elementary, Daniel Boone Elementary and Warren Elementary in the Francis Howell R-III School District; Conway Elementary in the Ladue School District; James Walker Elementary in the Blue Springs R-IV School District; Oak Grove Elementary in the Poplar Bluff R-I School District; and Skyline Elementary in the Hickory Co. R-I School District.

Earlier this year, those eight schools were honored as Missouri Gold Star Schools, and were then nominated for the Blue Ribbon Award.

“These Missouri schools are doing incredible work in preparing their students to succeed,” Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven said. “Congratulations to the students, staff, and their local communities for this terrific accomplishment.”