Catholic schools received 80% of the 2020 National Blue Ribbon awards issued to private schools this year by the Department of Education. Of 50 private schools to win the award, 40 are Catholic.
This year, the Department of Education designated 367 schools--317 public and 50 non-public--as National Blue Ribbon Schools. The 40 Catholic schools honored were from 17 states and 21 dioceses.
The awards were announced on September 24.
“The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content,” says the Department of Education’s website for the award.
“The National Blue Ribbon Schools flag gracing a school's building is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. National Blue Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and a model for schools still striving for excellence,” says the site.
Schools can be designated as National Blue Ribbon winners once every five years.
For non-public schools to be recognized, their students must score in the top 15% nationally on standardized English and math tests.
Kelly Branaman, secretary for Catholic schools and superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, told CNA that she was “appreciative” that non-public schools were recognized as well as public schools.
“This allows Catholic schools across the country to demonstrate their excellence on a national level,” she said to CNA on September 28.
Two schools in the Archdiocese of Washington were recognized as Blue Ribbon schools for this year.
“It is gratifying that the U.S. Department of Education recognizes what so many parents and teachers already know: that our Catholic schools provide a great education where academic excellence and our Catholic faith thrive,” said Branaman.
“We're grateful for this honor, and it will serve to inspire us as we will continue to offer our students an outstanding education.”