The U.S. Department of Education recognized 342 schools across the United States as National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps. Of the 342 schools that received the award, 17 are located in New Jersey and five are Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Newark. With the addition of these new schools, 35 percent of all Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese are now Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon designation is reserved for select schools whose students have scored in the top 15 percent of all students in the nation on standardized tests. Since 2011, twenty-three Archdiocesan Catholic schools have received the prestigious award. Schools in the Archdiocese that have earned the National Blue Ribbon award in 2017 include St. Peter Academy, River Edge; Our Lady of the Lake School, Verona; All Saints Catholic Academy, Bayonne; Hoboken Catholic Academy, Hoboken and The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in New Providence.
Sr. Rita Marie Fritzen, the principal of All Saints Catholic Academy in Bayonne, credits an incredible teaching staff and hardworking student body for the Academy’s first ever Blue Ribbon award. “We at All Saints Catholic Academy are truly honored to receive the highest educational distinction from the United States Department of Education,” said Sr. Rita.
Also receiving its first Blue Ribbon award is The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in New Providence. “It’s a privilege to lead and be part of an educational team which places students first during every milestone of their academic journey,” said Principal Joel Castillo.
Our Lady of the Lake School in Verona earned its first National Blue Ribbon Award in 2011. This year, it earned its second for Exemplary High Performance. “The students, faculty and staff of Our Lady of the Lake School are overjoyed with the news of winning our second consecutive National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence,” said Ben Ronquillo, the school’s Principal.
Dr. Margaret Dames, Superintendent of Schools, also credited teachers, staff and students for the notable achievement. “The Archdiocese is so proud of the efforts and performance of all the students, staff, teachers, principals, pastors and parents of all our Blue Ribbon Schools. It is a strong partnership that can achieve this tremendous success!” said Dr. Dames. The Catholic schools office also commended Barbara Dolan, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Planning, for her sustained support and assistance in completing the very comprehensive Blue Ribbon application.