LO­CAL SCHOOLS EARN BLUE RIB­BON AWARD

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

Four Ch­ester County schools were named a 2017 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School of Ex­cel­lence, which are among the 342 schools na­tion­wide to earn the dis­tinc­tion.

St. Joseph’s School of Down­ing­town, St. Max­i­m­il­ian Kolbe in West Ch­ester, West Ch­ester East High School and SS. Si­mon and Jude Parish in West Ch­ester, were was named a 2017 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School of Ex­cel­lence. Only 50 non-pub­lic schools re­ceived this honor. School of­fi­cials held a at a cer­e­mony Thursday in the school with the stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff.

The Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools Pro­gram hon­ors pub­lic and pri­vate ele­men­tary, mid­dle and high schools where stu­dents achieve very high learn­ing stan­dards or are mak­ing no­table im­prove­ments in clos­ing the achieve­ment gap.

In ad­di­tion to the four Ch­ester County schools, other schools in Penn­syl­va­nia that were named Blue Rib­bon schools were Ber­wick Area High School, Don­ald H. Eich­horn Mid­dle School, Fall­ing Spring Ele­men­tary School, Franklin Ele­men­tary School, Gen­eral Ge­orge A. McCall Ele­men­tary School, Good Hope Mid­dle School, Greenville Ju­nior/Se­nior High School, Gwynedd-Mercy Acad­emy Ele­men­tary, Lau­rel Jr/Sr High School, Le­mont/Houserville

Ele­men­tary School, MaST Com­mu­nity Charter School, Saint Teresa of Cal­cutta School, Shiloh Hills Ele­men­tary School, and Sun­rise Es­tates Ele­men­tary School.

U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Betsy DeVos rec­og­nized the schools as Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools, a recog­ni­tion is based on a school’s over­all aca­demic per­for­mance or progress in clos­ing achieve­ment gaps among stu­dent sub­groups.

“Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools are ac­tive demon­stra­tions of pre­par­ing ev­ery child for a bright fu­ture,” said U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Betsy DeVos 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.”

St. Joseph’s School in Down­ing­town re­ceived the Na­tion Blue Rib­bon award for its first time, and it was the only time the school of­fi­cials had ap­plied.

“I was proud,” Sis­ter Cather­ine Irene Masino, IHM Prin­ci­pal of St. Joseph School said about when she heard the news. “I’m proud

of the daily hard work by our staff and our stu­dents.”

She said she is thank­ful for the sup­port from the parish, her teach­ers, stu­dents and par­ents, as well as the com­mit­ment of the stu­dents to strive to do their best.

“The par­ents have great faith in us,” Masino said. “This (award) af­firms that we are do­ing a won­der­ful job here.”

It’s about us­ing the gifts and tal­ents that God gave them, Masino said, and hon­or­ing God by giv­ing those gifts and thanks to Him. She added that it’s a re­flec­tion of their mes­sage as a Catholic school be­cause it shows how the stu­dents de­velop so­cially, emo­tion­ally and spir­i­tu­ally. Many of the teach­ers were stu­dents at St. Joseph’s and Masino said that is an­other re­flec­tion of their com­mit­ment to the school.

The Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools Pro­gram hon­ors pub­lic and pri­vate ele­men­tary, mid­dle and high schools where stu­dents achieve high learn­ing stan­dards or are mak­ing no­table im­prove­ments in clos­ing the achieve­ment gap. DeVos said this cov­eted award af­firms the hard work of ed­u­ca­tors, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties in cre­at­ing safe and wel­com­ing schools where stu­dents mas­ter chal­leng­ing and en­gag­ing con­tent.

Now in its 35th year, the Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools Pro­gram has be­stowed recog­ni­tion on more than 8,500 schools. On Nov. 6-7, the Sec­re­tary and the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion will cel­e­brate with these hon­orees at an awards cer­e­mony in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

All schools are hon­ored in one of two per­for­mance cat­e­gories, based on all stu­dent scores, sub­group stu­dent scores and grad­u­a­tion rates:

· Ex­em­plary High Per­form­ing Schools are among their state’s high­est per­form­ing schools as mea­sured by state as­sess­ments or na­tion­ally normed tests.

· Ex­em­plary Achieve­ment Gap Clos­ing Schools are among their state’s high­est per­form­ing schools in clos­ing achieve­ment gaps be­tween a school’s sub­groups and all stu­dents over the past five years.

Up to 420 schools may be nom­i­nated each year. The Depart­ment in­vites Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School nom­i­na­tions from the top ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial in all states, the Dis­trict of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Vir­gin Is­lands, the Depart­ment of De­fense Ed­u­ca­tion Ac­tiv­ity and the Bureau of In­dian Ed­u­ca­tion. Pri­vate schools are nom­i­nated by The Coun­cil for Amer­i­can Pri­vate Ed­u­ca­tion (CAPE).

St. Joseph School will host a school-wide cel­e­bra­tion on Fri­day. St. Max­i­m­il­ian Kolbe’s Home and School will host the of­fi­cial cel­e­bra­tion party on Oct. 6 for the en­tire St. Max­i­m­il­ian Kolbe Parish Com­mu­nity.

“Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools are ac­tive demon­stra­tions of pre­par­ing ev­ery child for a bright fu­ture.” — U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Betsy DeVos

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

St. Max­i­m­il­ian Kolbe stu­dents cel­e­brate af­ter learn­ing their school was named a Blue Rib­bon School.

GIN­GER RAE DUN­BAR - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Fifth- through eighth-grade stu­dents at St. Joseph’s School in Down­ing­town watched a video on Thursday that in­cluded pho­to­graphs of stu­dents at each of the schools that re­ceived a 2017 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School honor. They cheered when their school pho­to­graph ap­peared.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

St. Max­i­m­il­ian Kolbe stu­dents cel­e­brate af­ter learn­ing their school was named a Blue Rib­bon School.

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