THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCES EIGHT CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA AS 2018 NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE

Monday, October 1st

   These schools are among only 49 private or religious schools in the country to receive this honor.  

 Our Lady of Mount Carmel School (Bucks County); Saint Jude School (Bucks County); Saint Joseph – Saint Robert School (Bucks County); Saint Katharine Drexel School (Bucks County); Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School (Chester County); Saint Mary Magdalen School (Delaware County); Our Lady of Mercy Regional School (Montgomery County); and Mater Dei Regional Catholic School (Montgomery County) selected as 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Doylestown (Bucks County); Saint Jude School in Chalfont (Bucks County); Saint Joseph – Saint Robert School in Warrington (Bucks County); Saint Katharine Drexel School in Holland (Bucks County); Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in West Chester (Chester County); Saint Mary Magdalen School in Media (Delaware County); Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School in Maple Glen (Montgomery County); and Mater Dei Regional Catholic School in Lansdale (Montgomery County)  were selected as part of the 2018 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools in an announcement made by Betsy DeVos, Secretary of the United States Department of Education (USDOE), today.

These schools are eight of only 349 total schools chosen nationally and among just 49 “non-public” schools selected.  Each school was chosen for overall academic excellence and seven of the eight are first time recipients of the National Blue Ribbon School recognition.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel previously received the designation in 2006.

Dr. Andrew McLaughlin, Secretary for Elementary Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, reacted to the announcement by saying, “We are elated to have eight of our regional and parish elementary schools chosen among only 49 non-public schools across the country as part of this year’s National Blue Ribbon cohort. We are particularly proud that these schools have been recognized for their commitment to academic excellence.  Blue Ribbon awards are a testament to the partnership among the faculty, staff, and school families as well as all of their hard work and sacrifice to provide a Christ-centered, quality, 21st century education to each and every young person in their care. I offer my prayerful congratulations to the schools being recognized today. They are inspirational examples to all of us working in the field of Catholic education.”

With today’s announcement, a total of 31 different parish and regional Catholic elementary schools in the five-county Archdiocese have been recognized with Blue Ribbon Status since the program’s inception in 1982. Saint Genevieve Catholic School in Flourtown (Montgomery County) has received this honor more times than any school in the Archdiocese (2000, 2006, and 2016).

The USDOE will hold a recognition ceremony for Blue Ribbon Schools November 7-8, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the eight schools noted above will be present.

In addition to the national recognition ceremony, each of the eight schools have planned or are in the process of planning local celebrations. Additional information can be found below or will be sent in separate news releases when details are finalized.

The information below was shared by each of the eight schools being recognized by the USDOE this year.

Mater Dei Catholic School (MDCS) was established in 2012 through the unification of three former parish schools: Saint Maria Goretti, Hatfield; Saint Rose of Lima, North Wales; and Saint Stanislaus, Lansdale.  Since its establishment, MDCS has exhibited a strong commitment to academic excellence for all students in grades Pre-K through 8.  MDCS provides an Honors English and Honors Math program for students who meet established criteria.  Likewise, provisions are made for students who need a modified curriculum in grades 1-8.  Over the past six years, MDCS graduates have been awarded well over one $1,000,000 to attend secondary schools in the Philadelphia region.  In response to parent suggestions, MDCS added an emphasis on community to its mission statement shortly after the school was opened.  The MDCS community has grown over the past six years and is a place where people show genuine respect and care for one another.  Through a variety of outreach programs, home and school work together to support and celebrate family life.  MDCS recognizes that knowledge enlightened by faith, excellence, service, and community is the heart of Catholic education.

The school, located at 493 East Main Street, Lansdale, PA 19446 (Montgomery County), will hold an initial announcement celebration at 2:15 p.m. on Monday, October 1, 2018.  The school will hold a larger National Blue Ribbon celebration in November. The date and details for that celebration will be shared as they become available.

Saint Mary Magdalen School (SMM), in Media (Delaware County) educates children in grade Pre-K through 8 and is marking its 53rd year as a parish elementary school during the 2018-2019 academic year.  SMM is committed to cultivating and encouraging the development of its students within the context of faith and love, and to affording students every opportunity to succeed at a variety of levels.  SMM takes pride in its tailored academic offerings to school families including the, Lab Learner program. This initiative opens new doors through hands-on exploration labs that begin in first grade and progress with students through each subsequent grade level.  Students also receive differentiated, grade-appropriate, individual Lexile level reading materials with ongoing assessment through the Achieve 3000 Program.  Additionally, the school community focuses on stewardship and all students are encouraged to share their time and talents with others.  As part of that focus older students mentor younger ones as prayer partners.  In addition, the student council, teachers, Home and School Associations, and CYO volunteers sponsor various events to support causes that students can participate in to benefit others in their local, national, and global communities.

The school’s official National Blue Ribbon celebration will take place on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. with a Mass of Thanksgiving at the parish church located at 2400 North Providence Road in Media. Mass will be celebrated by Monsignor Ralph Chieffo, Pastor, and feature participation by students, faculty, and staff.  Immediately following Mass a school-wide pep rally will take place.  All in attendance will wear special blue ribbon shirts to celebrate the occasion. Weather permitting, an outdoor photo shoot with students forming the shape of a blue ribbon will kick-off the pep rally. During the ensuing celebration in the gymnasium a 2,000 blue balloon drop ceiling drop is planned as well as a DJ dance party and blue water ice for students.  Teachers will also perform a special “flash mob” dance.

Friday, October 5, 2018

8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. (Mass of Thanksgiving) Saint Mary Magdalen Church

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. (Photo Shoot) School Yard

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Pep Rally) School Gymnasium

2430 North Providence Road

Media, PA 19063

(Delaware County)

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School (OLMC), a two-time National Blue Ribbon School, is celebrating its 143rd academic year and features a student body of over 300 in grades Pre-K though 8.  In OLMC’s Blue Ribbon application it cited technology and other unique educational initiatives as areas that make it stand out from other schools. Recent contributions from the pastor, the Home and School Association, and other supporting groups have funded an ecological greenhouse facility, extensive security camera system, lobby entrance safety improvements, a cafeteria renovation, and new stage curtains.  Recent technology upgrades include SMART interactive whiteboards in every classroom. Additionally, students at every grade level now have access to iPads and Chromebooks. At OLMC faculty, staff, administration, parents, and community members work collaboratively to present students with first-rate academic programs, cutting edge technology and facilities, and access to a wide range of extracurricular as well as service activities.  In closing its application, OLMC summarized, “The success of OLMC School is directly related to the investment of the people who care deeply for its students and the impact that they will make on our society as they step forward and serve future generations.”

The school’s official National Blue Ribbon celebration will take place on November 15, 2018 beginning with a Mass of Thanksgiving, which will include a presentation of the National Blue Ribbon Flag and Plaque. Mass will be celebrated by Monsignor Charles Hagan, Pastor, at the parish church 235 East State Street, Doylestown (Bucks County).  The liturgy will feature participation by students, faculty, staff, parents. Others in attendance will include senior administrators from the Office of Catholic Education, representatives of the Ladies of Mount Carmel, the Knights of Columbus, the State Street Players, and community supporters of the school.

A school-wide pep rally will be held that afternoon. It will feature a talent show with performances by students and faculty.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

9:00 a.m.  Mass of Thanksgiving

10:00 a.m. Reception

2:00 p.m. Blue Ribbon Pep Rally/School Wide Talent Show

Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gymnasium)

225 East Ashland Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
(Bucks County)

 Saint Jude School (SJS) is celebrating its 55th years as a parish elementary school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  Throughout its history SJS has been focused on a holistic educational model that engenders spiritual, academic, social, emotional, and physical growth. With Christ at the center of this model, student spiritual life is nurtured by daily prayer, catechetical instruction, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and participation in the Holy Mass on a regular basis.

SJS is also committed to service to others inspired by the charism of the Sisters of Mercy. Parents, teachers, and students work collaboratively through the Mercy Outreach program to identify and participate in service initiatives to benefit those in need.

SJS illustrates its academic values through STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, English, Art, and Math) as areas of its core curriculum. Integration of the core subjects of Religion, English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies with the specialized areas of Art, Foreign Language, Library Skills and Research, Music, Physical Education, and Technology creates a well-balanced and academically rigorous educational program.  A recent Middle States evaluation team reported that “Saint Jude School has exceeded expectations by challenging students through a broad spectrum of lessons inviting cross application.”

A National Blue Ribbon Mass of Thanksgiving and school-wide celebration at Saint Jude Parish Church, 323 West Butler Avenue, Chalfont (Bucks County), is planned for Friday, November 16, 2018.  Further details regarding this celebration will be shared as they become available.

Saint Joseph/Saint Robert School (SJSR) was founded on the grounds of Saint Joseph Parish in Warrington (Bucks County) in 1925 and staffed by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHMs).  Originally called Saint Joseph School, an additional building was added to the campus on in 1961. Saint Robert Bellarmine Parish was formed from Saint Joseph Parish on May 31, 1968. As Saint Robert Bellarmine Parish grew, Saint Joseph School became consolidated as Saint Joseph/Saint Robert School.

Throughout its rich history SJSR has focused on faith and learning with a mission of, “producing contributing members of the Church and the global community.”  With this mission in mind, SJSR offers rigorous, relevant curriculum through such tools as 1:1 technology initiatives in grades three through eight.  Additionally, faculty members use a variety of methods and materials to ensure that various learning needs and styles are met.  SJSR believe open collaboration between its faculty and parents is what sets it apart. In its Blue Ribbon application the school noted, “The administration, faculty, Home and School Association, and Advisory Board all work to ensure that key stakeholders in our community understand the value of our school.  This open collaboration models for our students the skills so necessary for life beyond the classroom:  Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.”

The school, located at 850 Euclid Avenue, Warrington (Bucks County) will hold its National Blue Ribbon celebration in the coming weeks. Further details regarding this celebration will be shared as they become available.

Saint Katharine Drexel School (SKDS) is celebrating its sixth year as a regional Catholic school in Bucks County.  In the fall of 2012-2013 students in Pre-K-eight from Assumption BVM Parish, Feasterville, Saint Bede the Venerable Parish, Holland, and Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, Richboro and other surrounding parishes were joined together to form SKDS.  It prides itself on being, an exceptional Catholic elementary school built for the future.  The campus includes a full-day pre-kindergarten program as well as a state-of-the-art digital media center, an Arts & Sciences Center, and a gymnasium with a stage for the school’s performing arts program. Through the SKDS 1:1 technology initiative Chromebooks, laptops, and iPads are a part of daily instruction for every student in grades K-8.  Saint Katharine Drexel Regional Catholic School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission of Elementary Schools.

The school located at 1053 Holland Road, Holland (Bucks County) will hold its National Blue Ribbon celebration in the coming weeks. Further details regarding this celebration will be shared as they become available.

 Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School (SSPP), has been educating students in the West Chester (Chester County) area since 2001.  Since its establishment seventeen years ago the school’s mission has been, “dedicated to academic excellence and the development of future leaders to be disciples of Christ with hearts to love and hands to serve.” School programs and activities feature an emphasis on faith, service, leadership, and knowledge.  In addition to the emphasis on faith and service, SSPP also believes in fueling a desire to learn. In its Blue Ribbon application the school noted, “Preparing the whole-child with practical application to the real world [is essential]. Students actively participate in the school store Hall Mall, the TV Studio, and theatre program while strengthening their skills in higher order thinking, public speaking, and leadership.”

The school, located at 1327 Boot Road, West Chester (Chester County) will hold its National Blue Ribbon celebration in the coming weeks. Further details regarding this celebration will be shared as they become available.

 Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School (OLM) was established in 2012 through the unification of three former parish elementary schools Saint Alphonsus, Maple Glen, Saint Anthony of Padua, Ambler, and Saint Catherine of Siena, Horsham.  OLM boasts a student population comprised of small communities, which reach across 12 school districts. In its Blue Ribbon application the school noted, “OLM has mushroomed into an expansive academic complex; complete with a state-of-the-art science lab, next generation STREAM curriculum, library, extended care program, computer lab, a 1:1 iPad program, and dedicated facilities for music, art, and Spanish [language studies].  Additionally, the students have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive Physical Education/Health program in a spacious, fully equipped facility.”  In existence for only six years, OLM was honored with aNational Blue Ribbon Award in its first year of eligibility.

A National Blue Ribbon school-wide celebration at Our Lady of Mercy, 29 Conwell Drive, Maple Glen (Montgomery County), is planned for Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Further details regarding this celebration will be shared as they become available.

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Editor’s Notes: For information about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit www.aopcatholicschools.org.  For a complete list of 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools, please visit https://nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/.

Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement.  Since the program’s founding, the U.S. Department of Education has bestowed this coveted award on more than 8,800 of America’s schools.