The National Blue Ribbon Award is among the most prestigious in education. It has been around since 1982 and many parents will pay exorbitant property taxes to live in a Blue Ribbon district. (Okay, who are we kidding, we’re ALL paying too much in property taxes.) Read more on the award here. The distinguished honor is based on academic success or how a school is faring in closing achievement gaps.

On Thursday the U. S. Department of Education announced this year’s selections across the country. Here in New Jersey 9 schools were recognized. They are:

• Lillian M. Steen Elementary School, Bogota
• Henry B. Milnes Elementary School, Fair Lawn
• Gould School, North Caldwell
• County Prep High School, Hudson County Schools of Technology
• Old Turnpike School, Tewksbury Township
• Clark Mills School, Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District
• Riverview Elementary School, Denville
• Island Heights Elementary School, Island Heights
• School No. 5, Linden

Being that I grew up right next door in Rahway it was nice to see Linden make this list. My kids are lucky to have gone to two different Blue Ribbon schools in two different towns; one in Plainsboro and one in Flemington.

Accolades are nice but what really matters is this. If your child is attending a New Jersey school you’re ahead of the game no matter the town. This month, for the second year in a row, NJ public schools were ranked best in the nation.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.