Sleepy Eye Elementary School is celebrating today after receiving some national recognition with the 2015 Blue Ribbon Award, after years of hard work.

The students and staff of Sleepy Eye Elementary School have a lot to celebrate.

The school is one of seven in Minnesota to receive that national Blue Ribbon School Award for being an exemplary high performing school.

Sleepy Eye Superintendent and Elementary School Principle John Cselovszki says, "I just congratulate the teachers, my board members and students for this well–deserved award."

The Blue Ribbon Program started in 1982 as a way to recognize some of the best schools throughout the nation and encourage communication to share some of the best practices to improve education.

This is an award that doesn't just mean a lot to the school but to the state.

Minnesota Commissioner of Education Dr. Brenda Cassellius says, "It's pretty amazing to put Minnesota on the map. The governor and I are just very proud of Sleepy Eye Public School to receive this type of recognition and honor across the entire nation."

It has been a long road to receiving the award.

Six years ago, the school took action to improve the education for their students.

Cselovszki says, "We noticed before we had to be forced to do something drastic, we decided to do it ourselves."

The curriculum changes, a stronger focus on students and closing the achievement gap has also led to Sleepy Eye being named a Minnesota Reward School three years in a row.

Cselovszki says,"Focused on students, every student matters to us. And also, we implemented some student based interventions during the school year and school day and also after school, and focused on the achievement gap."

But the recognition has gone national.

Cselovszki says, "Created some excitement here for us. I think the town and school is buzzing with excitement."

Excitement the school will use as they continue to improve.

Monroe Elementary in North Mankato also was named a Blue Ribbon School.

--KEYC News 12