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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2000

Governor Marks American Education Week With Visit to "Blue Ribbon" School

ITASCA -- Governor George H. Ryan today visited the DuPage County community of Itasca to congratulate the students, teachers and parents of F.E. Peacock Middle School on its recent designation as a "Blue Ribbon School."

"American Education Week is recognized every year around this time to celebrate and honor the good work done by our teachers, school administrators and students," Ryan said. "A Blue Ribbon Award is a symbol of quality and excellence in education recognized nationwide, and I'm proud to say that this year ten Illinois schools earned that prestigious distinction."

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program began in 1982 and is the U.S. Department of Education's top award bestowed upon the nation's most successful schools. This year, 198 Blue Ribbon Schools were chosen from 377 nominations nationwide. Blue Ribbon Schools must excel in academic leadership, teaching and teacher development, and school curriculum. Recognized schools also exhibit exceptional levels of community and parental involvement, high student achievement levels and rigorous safety and discipline programs within their schools.

In addition to Peacock Middle School, nine other Illinois schools have been designated as Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. They are: Alex Martino Junior High School in New Lenox; Buffalo Grove High School in Buffalo Grove; Carl Sandburg Junior High School in Rolling Meadows; Carlinville High School in Carlinville, Central Junior High School in Evergreen Park; Field Middle School in Northbrook; Jefferson Middle School in Champaign; Palatine High School in Palatine; and Warren Township High School in Gurnee.

"I want to again congratulate all of these schools and their communities for making education a top priority," Ryan added. "These schools are great examples of what can happen when parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders work together to make sure that our children receive the best education possible.

"It is my goal to help every Illinois school achieve this high level of success."

Under Ryan's Administration, education and workforce development funding has accounted for more than 51 percent of all new general revenue spending. Over the last two fiscal years, Ryan has directed record funding increases for education totaling nearly one billion dollars. That translates to an average or more than $354 per student, or $6,800 per classroom, statewide.

"Education has been, and will continue to be my top priority as governor," Ryan said. "But government can only do so much. Local communities must also be steadfast in their commitment to improving their schools. Together, we will make sure that every Illinois student has the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century."


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