The Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a United States government program created in 1981 to honor schools which have achieved high levels of performance or significant improvements with emphasis on schools serving disadvantaged students. The program centers around a self-assessment conducted by the school followed by an establishment and implementation of an improvement plan., The Washington Post, September 29, 2005, retrieved July 5, 2010, Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve."Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test; The Washington Post. September 29, 2005 "For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."