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U.S. Department of Education Honors Six Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Recipients

The Archdiocese of Chicago is the Recipient of the Greatest Number of Blue Ribbon Awards of Any School System – Public and Private – in the Country

Chicago, IL (September 28, 2017) – The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today that six of its Catholic schools – Holy Family Catholic Academy (Inverness), St. Edward School (Chicago), St. Gilbert Catholic School (Grayslake), St. Josaphat School (Chicago), St. Joseph Catholic School (Libertyville) and St. Joseph School (Wilmette) – 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 more than 90 Blue Ribbon Awards, more than any other school system – public and private – in the country. St. Josaphat School is the only elementary school in the City of Chicago to win this prestigious honor twice, having first earned this distinction in 2012.

“We are honored that the U.S. Department of Education has once again recognized several of our Catholic schools for their academic success,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Catholic Schools. “We have the awesome responsibility of educating and mentoring our students -- the future leaders of our city, state and world. We are deeply proud of our students, teachers, staff, and parents for their dedication and belief in Catholic education.”

All six 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.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 342 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017. On November 6 and 7, the Department will formally recognize 292 public and 50 private schools 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.

"National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future," said Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, in a video message to the honorees. "You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff."

Now in its 35th year, the U.S. Department of Education has given this coveted award to more than 8,500 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.