Baton Rouge Magnet High School students and staff celebrated the school’s Blue Ribbon school of excellence designation Nov. 19 with music, food and activities.

The school was one of nine Louisiana schools receiving the designation in September. It’s the third time the school earned the honor.

The Blue Ribbon award is given by the U.S. Department of Education, which began bestowing the honor in 1982. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at 10 a.m. announced the 335 schools named this year — 285 public and 50 private schools nationwide.

Schools can earn Blue Ribbon awards in two ways: They are among the top performing schools in their respective states, or they have shown substantial progress in closing the achievement gap between all students and historically low-performing subsets of students such as racial minorities and those living in poverty.

Last week’s celebration included performances by ballet and band students

The U.S. Department of Education honored the 335 schools at a recognition ceremony Nov. 9-10 in Washington, D.C. In its 33-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this award on some 8,000 schools.