Six Tennessee public schools, including two in suburban Shelby County, were named “Blue Ribbon” schools Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Schools in Arlington, Lakeland, Brentwood, Hendersonville, Murfreesboro, and Nashville were among 300 public and 49 private schools nationwide to receive the honor.

Three are traditional public schools, and three are public magnet schools. Magnet schools typically offer specialized instruction or programs, and draw students from a larger geographic area than a traditional school boundary.

The blue ribbon status is awarded annually to schools that have test scores in the top 15 percent in their state and no significant gaps among students from different demographics, or that have shown “extraordinary progress” in closing those gaps.

The honor does not bring any financial rewards but is considered a badge of distinction for schools that earn it — and local schools quickly touted their accomplishment.

“Becoming a National Blue Ribbon School doesn’t happen overnight,” said Superintendent Tammy Mason of Arlington, a bedroom community of Memphis, where Donelson Elementary received the accolade. “It takes years of hard work and dedication by teachers, faculty and staff, and students, and we cannot be prouder of this achievement. It’s truly a remarkable feat.”

Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools.

Making this year’s list from Tennessee are:

  • Discovery School, Murfreesboro, Murfreesboro City Schools
  • Donelson Elementary, Arlington, Arlington Community Schools
  • Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School, Nashville, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
  • Lakeland Elementary School, Lakeland,  Lakeland School System
  • Merrol Hyde Magnet School, Hendersonville, Sumner County Schools
  • Scales Elementary School, Brentwood, Williamson County Schools

No Tennessee public schools received the designation last year.

The map below shows how this year’s winners were distributed nationwide.