Catholic Free Press

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  • Oct
  • 7

St. Bernadette School earns national recognition

Posted By October 7, 2014 | 4:38 pm | Lead Story #1

By William T. Clew

NORTHBOROUGH – St. Bernadette School has been named  as a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Secretary of Education.
It is one of only 50 non-public schools, and the only one in New England, to receive the award. There were 287 public schools across the United States who also received the award.
The Department of Education notified the schools by way of its UPSTREAM channel Tuesday.
Deborah O’Neil, principal, said the school notified  the families of St. Bernadette students by e-mail Tuesday, then held an assembly in the school Wednesday to explain to the students what the award means.
Eagle CMYK Editable Date    She said some students hung blue ribbons around the school Tuesday afternoon and chanted “We are blue!”
According to the Department of Education, the 337 schools in the United States were chosen based on their overall excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
“This honor confirms a claim that was often used in national promotions: ‘Catholic Schools are leading the way.’ I congratulate the St. Bernadette School Community for demonstrating that Catholic Schools continue to provide quality education with Catholic values,”  Bishop McManus said.
Mrs. O’Neil said St. Bernadette submitted its initial application, seeking permission to apply for the Blue Ribbon, in December 2013. The school uses the Terra Nova standardized tests in mathematics, science, social studies and English to measure student average test scores.
St. Bernadette ranks in the top 15 percent of schools using the Terra Nova test, and has maintained that level for five years, Mrs. O’Neil said. She, Father Ronald G. Falco, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish, and several staff members will accept the award Nov. 11 at a conference which will begin Nov. 9 in Washington, D.C.
“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education – that all students, no matter their name or zip code – can flourish when schools provide safe, creative and challenging learning environments,” said Arne Duncan, secretary of the U. S. Department of Education. “National Blue Ribbon schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”
“The United State Conference of Catholic Bishops has long declared that all Catholic schools must be schools of excellence,” Mrs. O’Neil said. “Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Worcester Diocese has supported all Catholic schools in their efforts to provide a rigorous academic program grounded in faith values. St. Bernadette School is honored to have been named a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School and recognizes that we share this distinction with our 500 colleagues and school families of nearly 7,000 students enrolled in Catholic schools throughout the diocese.”
“Being named a National Blue Ribbon school is a well-deserved honor for the entire St. Bernadette School Community,” said Delma Josephson, diocesan Superintendent of Schools. “St. Bernadette Elementary School is the first school in the diocese of Worcester to receive the honor and the first school to have applied for Blue Ribbon status. The staff of the Catholic Schools Office is very excited for them and quite proud of them. They have worked hard to earn this recognition. This is a school whose administration and staff unselfishly collaborate to share its talents with other Catholic Schools. They are held in high regard.
“Catholic schools are called to be excellent,” she said. “Like St. Bernadette, the majority of our Catholic elementary schools have received New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation. Therefore, they have met rigorous standards and been recognized for their excellence. I hope other schools in the diocese will follow the lead of St. Bernadette.”
The school was established in 1997 and serves girls and boys in pre-K3 through eighth grades. It offers a rigorous academic program to a diverse student body of 470 students, including many international students. Limited class size and a talented and dedicated faculty enable the school to maintain consistently high standards for all students while ensuring individual attention, according to information provided by the school.Eagle CMYK Editable Date