Holy Fam­ily School rec­og­nized na­tion­ally

Named among 329 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Devlin ede­vlin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Eric_Devlin on Twit­ter

PHOENIXVILLE >> An area school has been named one of 2016’s Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools, the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Holy Fam­ily School in Phoenixville has been named among 329 schools se­lected for the na­tional distinc­tion. Schools are cho­sen for ei­ther aca­demic ex­cel­lence or clos­ing the achieve­ment gap. Holy Fam­ily was se­lected for scor­ing in the top 15 per­centile in math and read­ing com­pared to other pub­lic and pri­vate schools across the coun­try.

“Na­tional Blue Rib­bon schools are proof that we can pre­pare ev­ery child for col­lege and mean­ing­ful ca­reers,” said U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion John B. King Jr. “Your schools are on the cut­ting edge, pi­o­neer­ing in­no­va­tive ed­u­ca­tional prac­tices—pro­fes­sional learn­ing com­mu­ni­ties, pro­ject­based learn­ing, so­cial and emo­tional learn­ing, pos­i­tive be­hav­ior sys­tems — mak­ing you shin­ing ex­am­ples for your com­mu­ni­ties, your state and the na­tion.”

Now in its 34th year, the Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools Pro­gram has be­stowed this cov­eted award on fewer than 8,500 schools. On Nov. 7 and 8, the de­part­ment will for­mally rec­og­nize the 279 pub­lic and 50 pri­vate schools at an awards cer­e­mony in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

“We’re thrilled be­ing the only school in the Phoenixville/Kim­ber­ton area to re­ceive the des­ig­na­tion,” said Holy Fam­ily Prin­ci­pal Ann Marie Braca. “We are cel­e­brat­ing the news filled with ex­cite­ment, pride and joy over the

honor. We’ll be cel­e­brat­ing to show the pride we have in our staff and fac­ulty, stu­dents, par­ents and alumni. We are Blue Rib­bon proud.”

The Catholic school has fo­cused on in­di­vid­ual learn­ing that al­lows stu­dents to choose projects or as­sign­ments, thus en­hanc­ing their en­gage­ment, Braca said. In­struc­tional tech­niques in­clude co­op­er­a­tive and dis­cov­ery learn­ing as well as peer and self-eval­u­a­tion. The school has also in­vested in tech­nol­ogy and tries to pro­vide a well-rounded ed­u­ca­tion by teach­ing stu­dents world lan­guages like Span­ish, and rais­ing aware­ness of the needs in the com­mu­nity through var­i­ous ser­vice projects in each grade level.

When news of the recog­ni­tion hit the hall­ways of the school, the stu­dents and staff were un­der­stand­ably ex­cited, Braca said. Stu­dents were treated to blue wa­ter ice be­fore the clos­ing bell and fac­ulty mem­bers lit­er­ally jumped for joy. Thurs­day morn­ing stu­dents be­gan work­ing on a large poster cel­e­brat­ing the news with their hand­prints with a cap­tion that reads ‘We had a hand in this.’ They’ll also cel­e­brate on Mon­day by pos­ing head to toe in blue for a photo with the whole stu­dent body.

“It’s a big deal,” Braca said. “You have to do the work to get the recog­ni­tion. It’s an in­tense process to ap­ply. You have to show­case your school. A lot of hard work by a lot of peo­ple.

“It makes par­ents and stu­dents feel good. It ac­knowl­edges the work that we’ve all been do­ing. We’re ex­cited and proud and blue.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF HOLY FAM­ILY SCHOOL

Fac­ulty and staff at Holy Fam­ily School lit­er­ally jumped for joy af­ter hear­ing the news the school had been named a Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF HOLY FAM­ILY SCHOOL

Holy Fam­ily stu­dents were treated to blue wa­ter ice Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon af­ter the school re­ceived word it had been named a Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School.

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