U.S. Department of Education Honors Seven Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Recipients
Chicago, IL (Sept. 26, 2019) – The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today that seven of its Catholic schools – Alphonsus Academy and Center for the Arts (Chicago), St. Athanasius School (Evanston), St. Benedict Preparatory School Elementary (Chicago), Ss. Cyril & Methodius School (Lemont), Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy (Chicago), Old St. Mary's School (Chicago), St. Raymond School (Mount Prospect) – have been recognized this year by the U.S. Department of Education with Blue Ribbon Awards. The National Blue Ribbon Award is presented to schools based on a school’s overall academic excellence or the school’s progress in closing student achievement gaps. The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic schools have received 109 Blue Ribbon Awards, more than any other school system – public and private – in the country.
“I am thrilled to see seven of our Catholic schools being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic schools. “This incredible honor validates the hard work and dedication of our students, families, principals, teachers and staff in these schools, and throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago.”
All seven schools were recognized under the category of “Exemplary High Performing Schools,” meaning the schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Three of the archdiocese’s 2019 recipients have earned this prestigious honor twice: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy (2013), St. Athanasius School (2012) and St. Raymond School (2009).
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 362 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019. On November 14, 2019 – Friday, November 15, 2019, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 private school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Blue Ribbon Award celebrates the idea that all students, regardless of background, ability or location, deserve an excellent education.
“We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives,” said DeVos in a video message to the honorees. “As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning.”
Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools affirming the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.
Catholic high school seniors in the Archdiocese of Chicago graduate at a rate of more than 98 percent. Ninety-five percent of Archdiocesan Catholic high school graduates go on to college, earning millions of dollars in college scholarships each year. Catholic school graduates are committed to helping others through community service, a commitment that continues through adulthood. Catholic school graduates are also civically engaged and can be found in leadership positions in business, government and non-profit organizations.
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