Olive B. Loss Elementary School was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, specifically U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, on Sept. 28.

The state Department of Education nominated Olive B. Loss Elementary for consideration as a National Blue Ribbon School and then the school completed a rigorous application process.

Olive B. Loss Elementary was the only school in New Castle County (public, private or charter) to be selected. It is the first time an Appoquinimink School District school has won.

The school is one of 342 schools in the nation and one of three schools from Delaware to be recognized this year. Seaford Central Elementary School and East Millsboro Elementary School were the other two schools in Delaware.

The recognition can be in one of two categories: exemplary high performance schools and exemplary achievement gap closing schools. All three of this year’s honorees from Delaware were recognized in the former category.

After being nominated, the Oliver B. Loss Elementary School staff leadership team, headed by immediate past principal Lorraine Lybarger, undertook the challenging task of completing an application, which was over 20 pages, last spring, and district officials were awaiting word since then.

Ceremonial events and activities recognizing the nation’s 2017 Blue Ribbon Schools, which includes Olive B. Loss Elementary, will begin the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 6, at the Omni Shoreham in Washington D.C., and culminate in the awards lunch and presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Each school is represented at the ceremony by the building principal and staff member. There is a special exemption for schools whose principals at the time of nomination is no longer the current principal.

Olive B. Loss Elementary falls into this category, so the school’s current and former principals, Jenine Thomas and Lybarger, respectively, will be in attendance.

“Being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School is both validating and humbling for our school community,” Thomas said.

“It’s validating for our staff to have their talent, professionalism and passion celebrated with such a prestigious award. And it’s humbling to think of the thousands of students who have grown-up in OBL, each with their own personal story of success, who have contributed to our school’s achievement of exemplary high performance. This award is a tremendous honor and will serve as a source of pride and inspiration for years to come.”