La Reina High School of Thousand Oaks has been selected as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education — the highest national award that a school can receive. A Catholic college preparatory school for young women founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1964, La Reina was one of two high schools in California to be recognized; the only school in Ventura County; and the first Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to earn the honor since St. John Fisher Elementary School in Rancho Palos Verdes was named a Blue Ribbon School in 2010. Among the 53 high schools to receive the honor in the U.S. in 2013, La Reina was one of only two Catholic institutions. The other was Xavier Preparatory in Phoenix.“We have a real treasure here at La Reina High School,” said a delighted Dr. Shannon Gomez, principal. “This award is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our students, faculty, staff, and the Sisters of Notre Dame, who have ensured that the educational experience we deliver meets the needs of our students and encourages them to do their best. We are honored to be receiving this award.” The National Blue Ribbon program honors “Exemplary High Performing Schools,” using nationally normed tests. To apply for the award, a school must perform in the top 15 percent of the nation in both the reading and math section of the selected exam, with at least 90 percent of its students taking the exam. Junior high scores came from the IOWA Test of Basic Skills and senior high scores from the SAT. In addition to meeting the test requirements, La Reina completed an extensive application which summarized the schools strengths and accomplishments and demonstrated how the school community works together to promote student success. Private schools must first submit their application to The Council for American Private Education (CAPE), which nominates non-public schools, including parochial and independent schools. CAPE selects 50 of those applications to be sent to the U.S. Department of Education for the award. La Reina highlighted these school strengths in its application: —The education of young women “in the tradition, vision and educational principles of the Sisters of Notre Dame,” who founded the school in 1964. —The religion curriculum and Christian service program that encourages students to make a difference both locally and globally. —The traditions that build community like Friendship Week and the Renaissance Festival. —The Mock Trial and Speech and Debate teams that have received national recognition for many years. —The schoolwide writing program which has resulted in test scores (AP Literature, AP Language, and the writing section of the SAT) that place it consistently in the top 10 percent of the nation. —The high national test scores and the number of graduates that attend four year colleges and universities. —The athletic programs which have been recognized for both their excellence and their emphasis on sportsmanship. —The commitment to 21st century learning and the introduction of the one-to-one IPad program. —The addition of the period 7 elective program which has allowed students to take courses ranging from Robotics to Vocal Arts to World Cinema. —The six-year accreditation from WCEA/ WASC on 2010, which commended the school for “furthering the spirituality and personal transformation of students.” “La Reina’s comprehensive college prep curriculum and activities programs assist each student to discover, develop and share the unique gifts God has given her,” said principal Gomez. The guidance program offers support through personal and group counseling. A comprehensive college advisement program assists students and parents as they explore colleges and financial aid opportunities. Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, will present the Blue Ribbon Awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on November 17-18 to school representatives. La Reina will hold a Blue Ribbon celebration on Nov. 25. Further information about La Reina is available at {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0927/lareina/{/gallery}