Several local schools are the latest recipients of one of education's highest honors — blue ribbon status. The award is given by the U.S. Department of Education for high performance and high improvement.
Local winners of this year's blue ribbon awards include D.C.'s McKinley Tech, the only public high school on the list, and elementary schools Rachel Carson in Gaithersburg and Whitehall in Bowie.
But Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a point of singling out Arlington Traditional School, which has now won blue ribbon honor twice within ten years.
"We say that great schools don't happen by chance," says Principal Holly Hawthorne. "They happen by design, and we think we have a pretty good design."
She says it's the As, Bs, and Cs... A is for academics, B is for behavior, and C is for character.
"It's pretty simple," she says. "You know, not only do we want kids to use their brains and to work hard, but we also know that we have to have students and produce citizens with strong character."
Some of the other awardees are Saint Peter's School in Olney, and Blessed Sacrament School in the District.