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U.S. Department of Education Honors Seven Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools as 2020 National Blue Ribbon Recipients

These awards bring the System’s National Blue Ribbon Awards total to 94.

Chicago – (Sept. 25, 2020) – The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today that seven schools in the archdiocese Catholic school system – St. Andrew School (Chicago), St. Clement School (Chicago), St. Francis Xavier School (La Grange), St. James School (Arlington Heights), St. John of the Cross School (Western Springs), St. Paul of the Cross School (Park Ridge), and School of St. Mary (Lake Forest) – 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. In addition, Woodlands Academy (Lake Forest), an independent Catholic school was recognized with a 2020 National Blue Ribbon. Catholic schools in the archdiocese have received 117 Blue Ribbon Awards. 

“I am thrilled that seven schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago are being recognized with distinguished Blue Ribbon Awards,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools. “Our Catholic schools do a tremendous job of teaching children intellectually, physically, and spiritually, and it is gratifying to receive such recognition. I am grateful for the efforts of students, teachers, administrators, and families at these schools.”

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. Six of the archdiocese’s 2020 recipients have earned this prestigious honor previously: St. Andrew School (2013), St. Francis Xavier School (2013), St. James School (2008), St. John of the Cross School (2012), St. Paul of the Cross School (2011) and School of St. Mary (1989 and 2012). School of St. Mary is the first archdiocesan elementary school to receive three National Blue Ribbon Awards. This is Woodland Academy’s first National Blue Ribbon Award. 

The U.S. Department of Education will formally recognize the 367 schools - 317 public and 50 private - at a virtual awards ceremony on Nov. 12 and 13, 2020. The Blue Ribbon Award celebrates the idea that all students, regardless of background, ability or location, deserve an excellent education.  

"Congratulations to this year's National Blue Ribbon School awardees," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. "It's a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students' needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives."

Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards on more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.  

Catholic high school seniors in the Archdiocese of Chicago graduate at a rate of more than 98 percent. Ninety-five percent of Catholic high school graduates in the archdiocese 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.